Are you there, moviegoers? It's me, Margaret. | Movie Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Are you there, moviegoers? It's me, Margaret

Kenneth Lonergan returns (finally) with his follow-up to You Can Count on Me.

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A spoiled Manhattan teenager (Anna Paquin) distracts a city bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) with her flirty behavior, causing him to run a red light and kill a pedestrian (Allison Janney). At her mother's urging, the girl tells police the light was green, but eventually an attack of conscience—from which she conveniently spares herself—impels her to launch a vendetta against the driver. This moving drama was shot in 2005 but tied up in court for years after writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) failed to deliver a cut under 150 minutes, as his contract demanded. Released at long last and running 149 minutes, the movie shows obvious signs of having been hacked down to size (Matt Damon's fine performance as the girl's math teacher seems to have suffered particularly). But even in its truncated state, this is pretty gripping stuff; just think of it as an epic commercial for the director's cut DVD. Among the stellar cast are Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Kieran Culkin, Rosemarie DeWitt, Olivia Thirlby, and J. Smith-Cameron as the girl's mother.

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