The Seagull

"The Seagull is a gorgeous adaptation of one of the world’s most beloved plays. The characters are not always likable, but what the film has to say about love, art, fame, and other human desires remain powerful even in the age of Internet celebrity." - Film Inquiry

Director Michael Mayer has brought a new cinematic adaptation of Chekhov's enduring classic to the screen, imbuing the tale of complicated family dynamics, creation and heartbreak with an unprecedented sense of intimacy.

In the countryside outside of Moscow, a family gathers at a sprawling wooded estate. Ailing Sorin (Brian Dennehy) summons his sister, storied actress Irina (Annette Bening), to his bedside. She arrives with her lover, the much younger writer Boris (Corey Stoll). With Sorin seemingly on the up and up, Irina settles in for a summer in the country. Her emotionally tortured son Konstantin (Billy Howle), desperately jealous of Boris’ success, tries in vain to court his mother’s attention, pounding away at the piano and staging elaborate DIY plays in the forest starring his crush, their neighbor, Nina (Saorise Ronan).

The foursome becomes hopelessly entangled in a knot of jealousy, affection and betrayal, as Boris and Nina are drawn to each other. The vain, needy and manipulative Irina vies for Boris’ attention with dresses and flirtation and flat-out domination, while Kostantin acts out in increasingly violent ways. He shoots a seagull and lies at Nina’s feet, declaring he is the seagull.

Orbiting around these four is a group of extended family members and friends who heighten and disperse the drama. Masha (Elisabeth Moss) is the hilariously goth daughter of the farm managers, who pines after Konstantin while rebuffing the attention of schoolteacher Medvenko (Michael Zegen). Everyone wants something that they’re not getting: inspiration, success, fame, love, adoration.

Working with cinematographer Matthew J. Lloyd, Meyer infuses the tale with a sense of tactile immediacy. For his take on “The Seagull” Mayer has assembled a spectacular cast and maintains the historical roots, but most importantly, he’s paid tribute to Chekhov’s landmark sense of naturalism, which was a great evolution for the theater. It seems like it captures the true sense of humanism at the very soul of the story, which reflects both the lightness and the true darkness of life. - Tribune News Service


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