Lisa, a 17-year-old New York High school student, inadvertently plays the role in a tragic bus accident which claims the life of a woman. Somewhat responsible for distracting the bus driver, Lisa becomes more and more intent on setting things right, meeting opposition from all angles. Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret is an incredibly ambitious, affecting drama that takes a penetrative look into the cost or weight of human life and suffering, among other some other issues. Margaret does an impeccable job at capturing how trauma and guilt can affect the individual - seeing how Lisa becomes more and more abrasive, lashing out at her family and loved ones. She is a woman who is haunted by her experiences and while most films would be almost as abrasive in delivering this message, this film does so in a very subtle way, slowly unfolding and showing the tension, guilt and weight which Lisa is feeling. This type of trauma is something Lisa has never experienced before, and the film gives a very personal look into how this type of event can change a young mind forever. We see the effect this traumatic experience has on her own sentimentality, how she becomes distant, almost cold - one major example being how she ops for the purely physical relationship with a boy who has no real interest rather than the young man who clearly cares about her. The film touches on other dense topics, but they all fit into the larger theme, making for a compelling experience. Anna Paquin gives a great unrelenting performance, as we see a scattered, abrasive young woman trying to make some sense of this world after dealing with trauma. Margaret is not the masterpiece that some proclaim, but it's atmospheric, deeply resonant and ambitious, making for a film that should not be missed.
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