Anna Paquin (shown at right, with Mr Lonergan) as Lisa Cohen, a smart, angry, envelope-pushing high school student coming of age in the midst of some traumatizing events, the movie, which was begun not that long after 9/11, asks questions that most narrative films don't get near -- What is our responsibility to ourselves, and to others? What is our place in the world? When (and when not) ought we take a stand against authority? -- and while it doesn't provide easy answers, it makes us at least consider these questions. To answer an immediate question: Yes, Ms Paquin looks older than most high school students, but as the movie was being made over a five year period, how could she not? (In any case, we should by now be used to films with too-old-looking high-school kids -- a staple since my first experiences viewing cinema back in the 1940s.)
You Can Count on Me) that its minimal release in theaters strikes me as a terrible waste. Fortunately, enough critical acclaim at the time of release and continuing after has led to renewed interest in the film and will, I suspect, keep it percolating in the minds and hearts of film buffs for a long while.
Allison Janney as the victim) brought about in part by Lisa and a bus driver, played by Mark Ruffalo, below.
Matt Damon (below, left) and Matthew Broderick (above, right) play teachers in classes taken by Lisa, and both get very telling scenes to play --- one that pits the pomposity of the educator against the student's lesser knowledge but greater understanding, the other exploring responsibility when a student intentionally gets too physically close.
Jeannie Berlin, below, left, who has done almost no work in movies or TV over the past 35 years. Maybe the best thing in Margaret (and there is a lot of competition), Ms Berlin is indelible as the accident victim's good friend, an angry New Yorker who must "tell it like it is," everything else be damned. It occurs to TrustMovies just now, as I write this, that perhaps it is into just such a woman that our Lisa might grow up. Berlin's final speech to Paquin is about as memorable as anything I can recall from this past movie year.