Billy Gray

Posts Tagged ‘The Long Day Closes’

Long Day’s Journey

In Movie Reviews on April 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Terence Davies’ “The Long Day Closes” is short. But the absence of narrative leaves you guessing when the impressionistic remembrance of childhood will, or should, end.  Despite an endearing lead surrounded by charismatic supporting characters and bathed in poised, fitfully striking cinematography, the closing credits come as a pity and a relief.  This is a coming of age movie devoid of saccharine, ham-handed present-day narration elucidating the life lessons distracted viewers missed, and, more impressively, nostalgia to underscore the passage of time and overwhelm the mnemonic portrait.

A pastiche of memory, effortlessly conjured by the mind, is hard to transfer to paper and film. Davies’s recollections wind through and hover over the shambles of post-War Liverpool, where 11-year old Bud (Leigh McCormack) lives in a row house with his kind, wistful Mom (Marjorie Yates), who’s alone for unexplained reasons, though one suspects she’s a war widow, and three significantly older siblings he’d like to count as gallivanting peers. On Christmas and birthdays, the home is bright and boisterous. Otherwise, the dark barely cloaks the squalid. It’s a similar picture outside. The opening shot of a narrow Liverpool street dwells on rubble, while other images revel in tidy independent shops and communal merriment. (The film came out in 1992, when both of these were already near extinction.)

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