Gloria Grahame (played willingly by Annette Bening) lived a long and fruitful life as an Oscar winning movie star, so why did director Paul McGuigan chose an affair late in her life as the basis for a movie?
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool was adapted from Peter Turner’s (played here by Jamie Bell) memoir by Matt Greenhalgh, which documented his romance with Grahame after the bombshell’s better years were behind her. While it probably made for a good read, the cinematic treatment comes off like a Lifetime movie with a too good for the material cast.
Bening owns an Oscar herself, and sinks her teeth into the role of a woman desperately trying to stay trapped in that young actress’ body as she approaches old age and encounters health issues. She can play the role, but there isn’t much in the script that is demanding or revealing about this woman that couldn’t be found on a Wikipedia page. This is the kind of role/performance that was dreamed up as Oscar bait, but ended up being an ordinary portrayal with no real sizzle. Continue reading “‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’ is a literal sleeper”