THE SEAGULL (M) An old play in a new way, US, 99 min
Those who know their classic theatre are correct in assuming this is indeed a movie adaptation of the Chekhov chestnut from 1896. Those who know the revered play The Seagull inside-out are also correct in assuming that its enticingly loaded dialogue and housebound location are not a natural fit for the big screen. This is where the great Annette Bening comes in (and I really mean great: her last two movie performances in 20th Century Women and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool are master classes in acting). Her anchoring presence hauls an esoteric ensemble cast to better places than hoped. Bening plays Irina, a past-her-prime Moscow stage siren visiting her brother’s country home for the summer. As we get to know others passing through, a curious trend emerges: almost everyone appears to be in love with the wrong person, or is seriously considering the notion. A refined, yet lively period piece. Not essential, but quite entertaining. Co-stars Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Corey Stoll.