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Old May 21st, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Main Street Reviews - Spoilers

A very spoilerish review.

Quote:
Main Street

“Main Street”
A film review by Jordan Overstreet

Director: John Doyle
Producer(s): Myriad Pictures
Screenplay: Horton Foote; based on the book, Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis
Main players: Orlando Bloom, Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson, Colin Firth, and Amber Tamblyn

John Doyle’s Main Street, starring Colin Firth, Ellen Burstyn, Orlando Bloom, Patricia Clarkson, and Amber Tamblyn, premiered last Thursday at the 63rd annual Festival de Cannes. Based on Sinclair Lewis’ novel of the same name, Main Street is a posthumous work from the late Horton Foote, who penned the screenplay after a weekend visit to Durham several years earlier, during which he found downtown to be completely empty. Foote, who is best known for To Kill a Mockingbird, Tender Mercies, A Trip to Bountiful, Orphans’ Home Cycle, The Young Man from Atlanta, and most recently Dividing the Estate, is very much in his element. The film, which marks Doyle’s first major motion picture venture, follows the intersecting lives of various members of the dying Durham community in upstate North Carolina. While home to the prestigious Duke University, a popular destination for many affluent Americans seeking higher education, Durham, as the film suggests, has not prospered in the influx of the nouveau riche; and this once vibrant empire of the North Carolina tobacco industry, has, like many small towns across the South, withered away. Thus, when Gus Leroy (Firth), rolls into town with his big plans to revive Durham, his arrival provides the catalyst for the film. While his plan for rebirth is just the medicine to heal the dying economy, it comes at a price, leaving many residents to question whether Leroy’s presence is merely an accident or divine intervention.

We first meet Georgiana Carr, the aging daughter of a tobacco millionaire, as she recants Durham’s “Golden Age” (that began as a result of Reconstruction and carried on through the 1940’s) to a prospective realtor. Through a low, wide-angle shot, Doyle captures Georgiana sitting on the porch of her spacious white estate, which is reminiscent of a modern-day version of Blanche Dubois’ Belle Rive, in downtown Durham. Like the wrinkled Georgiana, the house too shows signs of aging--chipped paint, cobwebs, etc--and as Doyle pulls away to reveal a small compact car made in the 1990’s, Georgiana’s world is seen as outmoded and she herself becomes a tangible symbol of decay. Ms. Burstyn, last seen as “Miss Addie” in Tennessee Williams’ The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, appears to be on a ‘wilting Southern heroine’ kick, in which she, sans make-up, portrays women on the brink of death. Much of her time was devoted to hurrying about her home in a fit of tears fueled by her fear of the outside world, but the blame for this lies on Doyle’s direction, not Ms. Burstyn. Georgiana’s motive throughout the film seems to be her desire not to fear her impending death, and Ms. Burstyn translates this well. Georgiana’s fear of dying is further bolstered by the arrival of Leroy.

Suspicious of an intruder lurking outside, Georgiana calls her niece, Willa (Clarkson) to the scene, and on her drive over, it is Willa who witnesses Leroy’s two Hispanic workers smoking outside of Georgiana’s downtown warehouse, once used for the storage of tobacco. A member an earlier generation of Durham youth who had left town to go on to bigger things, Willa has returned home following her divorce. Willa is a headstrong, forty something divorcee, who’s concern for Georgiana’s well being is a top priority. Ms. Clarkson far outshines her co-stars in this film. Her chemistry with Ms. Burstyn is top notch and the two play off of each other well. As Willa becomes Georgiana’s protectorate, the audience is introduced to Leroy’s line of business--hazardous waste management.

Entering town in the middle of the night (poor choice by Doyle seeing as a daylight appearance would have been a stronger choice dramatically speaking), are a fleet a white trucks carrying canisters of hazardous waste material (a phrase that becomes far over used throughout the film). Entering Georgiana’s warehouse in an electric blue button down and black suede cowboy boots is Gus Leroy. Mr. Firth, whose last motion picture appearance as the suicidal homosexual in Tom Ford’s A Single Man, attempts to prove yet again that he too possesses a chamelon-esque quality like that of Meryl Streep. Unfortunately, Mr. Firth cannot play a Texan. His slow drawl is forced and his chemistry with his leading lady is not up to par (there’s a first time for everything). Ms. Clarkson ultimately saves the day by bridging the age gap between Mr. Firth and herself. Nevertheless, the triangle of Georgiana, Willa, and Leroy remains the most compelling aspect of the film.

In Foote’s “B” plot line, he explores the newest generation to enter the Durham workforce through the characters of Harris Parker (Bloom), a police officer by day and a law-student by night, and Mary Saunders (Tamblyn), a sectary in a law firm who is dating her much older and very married boss. Harris remains in Durham to support his aging mother, while Mary appears to be stuck in her fear to move away from Harris, who is her high school sweetheart. Through this entrapment, Foote attempts to explain the loss of the Durham workforce--the kids are just moving away. However, Mr. Bloom and Miss Tamblyn find themselves, like their characters, trapped in Foote’s subplot. Foote has created an ensemble drama and has done a poor job of truly weaving his subplot into his main story. This beginners mistake is out of character for such a celebrated writer and would have been caught in another draft of the script, however, my guess is Foote’s health did not permit another re-working, leaving us stuck with this draft. Doyle does a noble effort attempting to cover-up any plot holes by trying to link these two stories together, however, his theatrical background in the West End fails to aid Doyle in being successful.

With such a well-rounded cast, a script from Horton Foote, and an acclaimed Broadway director on board, Main Street should have been a success, yet it is a total disappointment. The great climax of the film occurs when Leroy’s fleet of white trucks, carrying hazardous waste, are in an accident on the side of the highway. Expecting the worst, the audience is very much let down when we learn that the canisters did not, in fact, rupture. So many times throughout the film, Foote gives us reasons to not trust Leroy, but we end up seeing his as a Christ-like figure that has come to save Durham from death and escort Georgiana to her final resting place. Perhaps if Doyle or Foote had factored in the thoughts of the audience, a very different film would have been produced; one that would have held my attention. Despite this, Doyle is successful in his overall goal of suggesting that sometimes death is the only means for survival. I wonder if the death of Main Street at the box office will help it survive, Mr. Doyle?
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Old May 21st, 2010, 08:05 PM
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Old May 21st, 2010, 09:46 PM
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Old May 21st, 2010, 09:53 PM
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Old May 21st, 2010, 09:53 PM
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Thanks Choco for the article in to but some words in bold

I don't understand really much the article :S Is it nice or not ?
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 01:07 AM
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Not good

http://heatherfink.blogspot.com/2010...es-report.html

- Main Street - great cast (Ellen Burstyn, Orlando Bloom to name a few) but we left after 30 mins into the film. BAD EDITING. TERRIBLE EDITING. Shots were misused, it should have started way later in the first scene, the opening montage was boring and repetetive. Could be great if it was edited properly
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Thanks for sharing...
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 02:59 PM
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I didn't want to read any spoilers, but I read the other review. Thanks Dea.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:52 PM
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Thanks Ginger

I'm sad
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 01:12 AM
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Mention of OLove and another review (sort of)

http://www.indyweek.com/artery/archi...aces-in-cannes

Main Street, the movie, surfaces in Cannes
Posted by David Fellerath on Sat, May 22, 2010 at 7:30 PM

A night shoot on Main Street, Durham

* File photo by Jeremy M. Lange
* A night shoot on Main Street, Durham

A little more than a year ago, there was a motion picture production in downtown Durham. Called Main Street, the film starred Colin Firth, Patricia Clarkson, Ellen Burstyn, Orlando Bloom and Amber Tamblyn.

But really, its strongest claim to being taken seriously was that the author of the screenplay was Horton Foote.

Foote, who died in March 2009, is a big deal this year on Broadway as his Orphans' Home Cycle had a triumphant limited run during the winter, prompting plans for its transfer to Broadway in the fall.

Still, that hasn't been enough to get much attention for Main Street, which appeared at Cannes last week, according to a couple of online sites. Main Street isn't listed on the Cannes website (and if you Google "main street" and "Cannes," you'll get nothing but hits for Stones in Exile, the documentary about the Rolling Stones 1972 album, Exile on Main St.). Instead, the film played at the market at Cannes, where hundreds of producers set up wildcat screenings in hopes of finding distribution for their films.

It's worth looking at the blog post written by one Jordan Overstreet and reposted on an Orlando Bloom fan site. The review recaps the story start to finish. Although there's a bit of a howler right at the top as Overstreet mistakenly writes that Foote based his script on Sinclair Lewis' novel Main Street, what follows is fairly exhaustive, and she seems to be well-versed in film language (like "B-story") and is comfortable criticizing Foote and John Doyle, the film's director, for some of their narrative decisions.

Overstreet notes that Foote "penned the screenplay after a weekend visit to Durham several years earlier, during which he found downtown to be completely empty." If the following passage from Overstreet's account is accurate, it appears that the town in the film is called "Durham."

The film, which marks Doyle’s first major motion picture venture, follows the intersecting lives of various members of the dying Durham community in upstate North Carolina. While home to the prestigious Duke University, a popular destination for many affluent Americans seeking higher education, Durham, as the film suggests, has not prospered in the influx of the nouveau riche; and this once vibrant empire of the North Carolina tobacco industry, has, like many small towns across the South, withered away.

This point is interesting because I interviewed David Linck, the unit publicist for the film, and he made a point of saying that real Durham was standing in for a fictitious Durham—that the community represented in the film would not be intended to be mistaken for real-life Durham. (He also told Kevin Davis and Barry Ragin much the same thing on their Shooting the Bull show.) That fine distinction seems to have been lost on this viewer, at the very least.

Main Street's version of Durham seems to be a place left bereft by the demise of the tobacco economy. Empty warehouses, empty streets, etc:

In Foote’s “B” plot line, he explores the newest generation to enter the Durham workforce through the characters of Harris Parker (Bloom), a police officer by day and a law-student by night, and Mary Saunders (Tamblyn), a sectary in a law firm who is dating her much older and very married boss. Harris remains in Durham to support his aging mother, while Mary appears to be stuck in her fear to move away from Harris, who is her high school sweetheart. Through this entrapment, Foote attempts to explain the loss of the Durham workforce—the kids are just moving away.

Overstreet offers thoughts on the lead performances before concluding that the film is a failure, but perhaps one that will survive nonetheless:

With such a well-rounded cast, a script from Horton Foote, and an acclaimed Broadway director on board, Main Street should have been a success, yet it is a total disappointment. ... Perhaps if Doyle or Foote had factored in the thoughts of the audience, a very different film would have been produced; one that would have held my attention. Despite this, Doyle is successful in his overall goal of suggesting that sometimes death is the only means for survival. I wonder if the death of Main Street at the box office will help it survive, Mr. Doyle?

Another blogger's assessment was shorter and harsher:

Main Street - great cast (Ellen Burstyn, Orlando Bloom to name a few) but we left after 30 mins into the film. BAD EDITING. TERRIBLE EDITING. Shots were misused, it should have started way later in the first scene, the opening montage was boring and repetetive. Could be great if it was edited properly

The complaints about the editing and pacing make me think that the film may, in fact, resemble other Horton Foote-scripted films—like Tender Mercies and The Trip to Bountiful, two excellent films that are also, at times, maddeningly slow.

Despite the concerns of some that the movie might damage Durham's hopes of becoming a mecca for smart, cultured people, there seems to be little for civic boosters to worry about considering that Main Street hasn't generated much more interest than these humble online reviews—faint, dismissive ripples in the movie blogosphere. Those who treasure Foote's work, however, will have to hope that Main Street will somehow see the light of day, even if it's only an unsuccessful curiosity.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 09:20 AM
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Thank you Ginger!
He knows that that review was reposted here...does that mean that he uses to visit our board?
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 04:39 PM
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Uh-oh...

Thanks for the reviews though, choco and Ginger
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:01 AM
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Thanks Ginger

Sadly, he will have to rent it ...

erendira Maybe xD It's here or ka-bloom, in english it's the biggest and more active board ^^ They read our stupidities xD
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Old June 24th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by citygirl View Post

erendira Maybe xD It's here or ka-bloom, in english it's the biggest and more active board ^^ They read our stupidities xD
Ah,don't worry citygirl,NONE is safe of write stupidities sometimes...and critics are not an exception...
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Old July 24th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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LOL you right Erendira ! xD
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:00 AM
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Well, I just got home from seeing "Main Street" at the Austin Film Festival. Karen and I met up at Chili's to dine and dish before heading downtown. We had to wait in a separate line while all those with badges and passes filed in first. Let me say, there were a lot of people there.

Before the movie started, one of the executive producers came on stage; I believe his name was Adi Shankar, hopefully, Karen can correct me if I'm wrong. He spoke very briefly before introducing Mr. Foote's daughter, Hallie. She also spoke briefly and thanked everyone for coming.

Now, I've been sitting here, reading the reviews from the screening at Cannes and I just don't get what they are talking about. They talk about the editing being choppy, the pacing being too slow, the yada-yada-yada--pooey, I loved it! I'll admit, I don't know a lot about films and such, but I know what I like and I liked this movie. This movie is a small slice of life of the people in this small town. It is a window into the life of a woman who has lived in this one town, in this one house all her life and is seeing it all being taken away from her. Her once comfortable life is no more and she is having to deal with losing, not just her house, but her way of life, the only life she's ever known. Ellen Burstyn was wonderful as Georgiana Carr, as was Patricia Clarkson as Willia, her long suffering but loving, niece.
Colin Firth was great, his accent was not over the top and----I must say, his character surprised me. I won't say anymore about that because it would spoil the film.
Amber was great as Harris's high school love, Mary, a young woman who wants out of Durham. There's a scene between Mary and Harris that will break your heart.

Orlando. What can I say, he was wonderful. Karen and I both agreed that he looked better on film than in the still pictures---if that's possible. (Sorry, a little fangirly there) Now, do not go by the accent he did in that little interview; in the film it is very believable and, like Collin's, was not over the top. We also agreed that he must have studied cops and their mannerism's because he had them down pat. From pulling the pen out of his belt and flipping open his notepad, to grabbing the mike in the patrol car and reporting his location. I know, I know, but it's the simple things that make me smile.

Again, I loved this movie. And, it does remind me of "The Trip to Bountiful". Not in content, but in feeling---and I thought is was a nice feeling.

I should also add that at the end of the movie they handed everyone a ballot and asked that you rate the movie from 1 to 5---along with some other information. I, of course, gave it a 5---hope a lot of others did to.

Um, and after reading this over, I would like to apologize for the excessive use of the word LIFE.
I also hope you don't mind, but I'm so tired that I just copied my review I wrote at Ka-Bloom. I didn't know how to write it any differently.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:05 AM
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Thanks for sharing KayT!
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:08 AM
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Thanks a lot Kay for your review, I'm really happy you enjoyed the movie!! And Orlando ion it, of course!!
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:38 AM
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Thank you very much Kay-T
I'm glad that you liked the movie and O performance,and you're right,those little details are which makes a character believable in the end...I'm not surprised,because he's a real professional and all his characters are perfectly built, in MHO...Now I'm even more eager to see this movie...let it comes to Europe,please!!
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Oh, I want to see that so badly. The more even after your wonderful review, KayT! Thanks for that!

Oh... a heartbreaking scene you say? Too bad I might not be able to see that anytime soon. Although I keep my fingers crossed that this film will get released on DVD at least over here some time.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 12:18 PM
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Thank you for this wondeful review Kayt ! I hope this movie will be released in Belgium at least on DVD !
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Thank you so much for this great review, KayT! Can´t wait to see the film. Hopefully it´ll be released in Germany, too.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
First look at Foote’s last
By Charles Ealy | Friday, October 22, 2010, 09:59 AM

The last screenplay ever penned by the late Texas legend Horton Foote had is premiere Thursday night at the Paramount.

Directed by John Doyle, it’s called “Main Street,” and it has all the hallmarks of a gentle Foote tale.

Ellen Burstyn stars as a Georgiana Carr, a Durham, N.C., matron who lives in a gorgeous old mansion where she was born. She knows she can’t afford to continue to live there, because her income has grown meager over the many years. So when a stranger named Gus Leroy (Colin Firth) comes to her home and asks to rent one of the warehouses she owns, she agrees, no questions asked.

It turns out that Leroy is storing hazardous waste at the warehouse, however. And Georgiana’s niece Willa (Patricia Clarkson) isn’t amused.

As with many Foote tales, “Main Street” has a subplot focusing on a couple of younger people in Durham. Harris Parker (Orlando Bloom) works as a cop and attends law school at night. He’s trying to improve himself so that he can win back the love of his life, Mary (Amber Tamblyn).

Doyle weaves back and forth between the old and possibly new families with grace. But the pacing lags at times, seeming more like a play than a movie.

Still, the cast is excellent, and Burstyn still has the ability to amaze us with her fearless vulnerabilities.

Hallie Foote, the daughter of the screenwriter and playwright, introduced the movie to Austin audiences.
http://www.austin360.com/blogs/conte...tin_movie_blog
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for your review, KayT!

I'm so glad that you got to see it and liked it so much. I always enjoy reading reviews from fans, and not stuffy, old, often biased, film critics.

And thanks for bringing that review over, May!

What is so great about that one, is that Austin360 is a widely read, very popular site! Maybe more people will be interested in seeing the film when it gets distributed. (notice the positive energy that I am sending there )

I also found another fan review on Live Journal.
It's positive as well!

http://community.livejournal.com/obd...on/101775.html
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 05:11 PM
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I know that films often get a few airings at festivals before being finally re-edited and hopefully taken up by somebody, but I am really sorry that the prospects for seeing this (at all, never mind on the big screen) seem increasingly remote. You think that when they finally give up they might find some website with pay downoads for those of us who would love to see it "anyway" huh?
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