Recasts the first film's conflict with a more intriguing angle of social justice, plus a surprisingly poignant tale of Generation Y malaise and crisis. But it's lower on laughs and often finds it difficult to combine its social politics with its sense of humour.
But also, that Zac Efron dance.
Frears does his lead actress a disservice by focusing so intently on Florence’s illness and frailty, lingering on the bedtime ritual where St. Clair removes her wig to reveal the shaved head she has as a result of contracting syphilis from her first husband. Streep commits herself with great gusto to the part, understanding Florence’s devotion to her great passion, but Frears robs her of the opportunity to layer the character with much else.
Read my full review for Front Row Reviews.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This is the kind of wistful auburn drama that's so easy to watch, you feel harsh pointing out everything that's wrong with it. But it's so aware of being that kind of film, to the extent that the first piece of classical music that plays from Elizabeth Olsen's mixtape gift to Josh Radnor, soundtracking his journey back out of the rosy green backwoods of Ohio, is Beethoven's 'Pastoral' symphony. It's so deeply aware of itself that this mixtape becomes the…