This was an unusual movie. I admit, I haven’t read the book, but I also don’t feel compelled to read it after watching the movie either. I’m not saying the movie was bad, but rather that it seemed like a book involving it might be a bit slow, since the movie was too. But it told the story of a very realistic woman.
The Stone Angel follows the life of Hagar. We are introduced to her as an old woman, who’s son wants to put her in the nursing home. As she travels back to where she grew up, she also travels back in her memories as well, remembering her life. Most especially she remembers meeting Bram, her husband, and the grief it caused her father as he disowned her for marrying Bram. She has two sons, and its obvious she dotes on the younger, but they don’t grow to what she thinks they will. In between her memories, she shares some time with some unusual people and stays in an abandoned house, just trying to reconcile what’s happening with her. In her life she’s lost quite a bit, and it makes those memories that more poignant.
Ellen Burstyn: Hagar Shipley
Christine Horne: Young Hagar
Dylan Baker: Marvin
Sheila McCarthy: Doris
Kevin Zegers: John
Ellen Page: Arlene
Cole Hauser: Young Bram
Wings Hauser: Older Bram
Aaron Ashmore: Matt
Luke Kirby: Leo
Josette Halpert: Young Arlene
I really liked both of the actors for Hagar. They each added their own style to the character and while they worked together, they were also incredibly different. The older Hagar is much freer than the younger, and Burstyn was very good at making herself seem like a strong old woman who is slowly losing herself. The younger Hagar, played by Horne was passionate, but stiff, and it was easy to see she was never content with her life. The other characters did a good job as well, but you didn’t get the depth of feeling with them that you did with Hagar. Even her sons were kind of regulated to the background, especially Marvin, although I suppose that was actually his role. John was the favored and his actor was very good at making him seem like he had no direction in life.
I did like the story that the movie told. It was touching, although you can get irritated with the characters sometimes. Hagar seemed to have a lot of trouble in her life, and granted Bram wasn’t always the best of husbands but he did seem to genuinely love her. She just wasn’t content. And I’m sure its a story that could resonate with a lot of people. But it did move sort of slow. I realize it was a character building movie, but at times it drug and focused on things that just didn’t seem that important in Hagar’s life. There are some adult themes in the movie, nothing is shown overtly but there’s some heavier romance scenes.
The music was nothing special. It fit with the times but really just provided more background than anything. It also was largely instrumental. The shooting of the movie was also standard. There weren’t special effects, etc. It was just the telling of a story so the camera followed the characters around. But hey, it wasn’t shaky so it was fine by me. They did a good job on the settings as well, everything seemed to stay in sync with the era it was supposedly in. I liked the touch the old cars in the movie made too.
An interesting movie. Not necessarily for those who would like some action or suspense though. It told a story.