Margaret plays at the Siskel for two more days
After every show but one sold out in February, the Siskel decided to bring back Kenneth Lonergan's great film Margaret for a second encore run. The movie has been selling out again this week, and you have two more chances to catch it, tonight and tomorrow at 7:45pm. (There's a DVD coming soon as well; the date's still TBA.)
I've been a cheerleader for Margaret since its first release last fall. One of the things people ask me about most is the final scene with Matt Damon, who plays the main character's math teacher. What Anna Paquin's Lisa says to him seems like a major non sequitur, and some have speculated that connective tissue was trimmed for length. (A rough cut once reached 198 minutes.) But Lonergan has a response to that. I decided to leave it out of my original interview because it involved spoilers. Now that a larger crowd has seen the film, it's worth posting what he said.
A MAJOR SPOILER FOLLOWS THE JUMP. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Yes, the cast shot a sequence in which Lisa gets an abortion. Even so, the director says that segment's absence from the completed film doesn't radically alter the tone of Paquin's confrontation or Damon's reaction to what she says.
Here's Lonergan: "Her mother takes her to the clinic and there's another scene with her mother waiting while she's having this abortion. And then she goes and sees her afterward. It brings that relationship to an even more drastic pitch. But in terms of the Matt Damon scene, the fact is, whether or not she actually had an abortion or she's just making it up because she's so desperate to get back at somebody, it's sort of the same action, if I'm an actor. He did sleep with a student, which is absolutely something you don't do. Whether she got pregnant or not only makes [worse] something that's very bad—that he feels very bad about and shouldn't have done. I think it's clear from his performance and his behavior that he feels bad about it, and also from his dialogue and his attitude. He basically invites her to expose him, and says, it's okay, go ahead and tell."