A review of the new film “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”

In the late 1970s, Academy Award-winning American actress Gloria Grahame – four times married and deeply troubled – struck up an unusual relationship with an actor from Liverpool called Peter Turner who was some three decades younger than her. This British film is based on Turner’s account of their life together and is ably directed by Scottish Paul McGuigan. The director eschews the classic jump flash-back in favour of a series of more subtle slides from one period to another. However, the American scenes are clearly staged in the studio in the interests of a small budget.

The role of GG (Glo to her beau) is terrific for Annette Bening who brings real star quality and a nuanced performance to the part. Jamie Bell – who has come a long way since “Billy Elliot” 17 years ago – does well in the company of such star power and, among the well-cast minor roles, we have the inestimable Julie Walters who guided Billy Elliot all those years ago.

There are some memorable scenes: Grahame and Turner dancing together when they first meet, a recital of “Romeo And Juliet” in an empty theatre (where the real Turner has a tiny role), a clever repeat of the same scene viewed from the different perspectives of the two principals, and of course the farewell departure. Also the attention to period detail is noticeable: that terrible flowered wallpaper, the dial telephone in the hallway, and Elton John’s “Song For Guy” (I remember it all).

Link: Wikipedia page on Gloria Grahame click here


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