Relationships in which one partner is much older than the other one is nothing unusual in our world. It seems to be everywhere right now: the White House, the Élysée-Palace, and Hollywood. Clearly, it cannot be missed on our screens as well. Here’s where Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool comes in.
It is based on the true story about the former Hollywood star Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) who, in the late 1970s, can be found more on the theatre stages of England than on the big screen. In London, she meets the young and unsuccessful actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell). Eventually, the two fall in love and start a relationship despite their age difference.
Against all odds, their love prevails until a few years later. In the early 80s, Gloria is diagnosed with breast cancer and decides not to tell her younger lover about her serious illness. Peter, however, notices the changes in Gloria’s demeanor and demands answers. Instead of telling him the truth, Gloria breaks up with him.
Months after their affair ended, Gloria collapses before going on stage in Lancaster, UK. in the hospital, she wants the staff to call Peter. Peter brings her back to his parents’ house, as Gloria asks to be taken care of by his mother (Julie Walters).
Film Stars is a sweet movie about an unconventional love at their time. The movie was mostly told through flashbacks, which made the story a bit more interesting. It was great to see their love flourish throughout the years they spent together. The transition between the past and present was smoothly done. Despite the serious illness that Gloria suffered from, which the audience only discovered in the end, the movie was filled with humor, love, and joy.
The character of Gloria, however, was rather unlikable. Her voice especially was something that annoyed me so bad. She is more of an aging film star who doesn’t want to believe in the fact that she is old now. Nevertheless, Annette Bening portrayed Gloria very well. In the end, she made us realize that she is not as egoistic as she appears to be in the beginning.
Jamie Bell delivers a great performance as Peter Turner. In the end, especially, he broke my heart a little bit with his depiction. Bell also still has those great dance moves he showed off as a young boy in Billy Elliot. We get to see them shortly after Grahame and Turner first met. The scene, in general, was great. It showed that Grahame and Turner actually fell in love and were attracted to one another. Bell surely made a lasting impression with his portrayal of Peter Turner, who was sweet and caring throughout the movie.
Julie Walters may only have had a minor role in the movie as Peter’s mother, but she still was compelling. She was funny at times and would call her children out whenever she disagreed with them. It was also interesting to see her and Gloria’s relationship in the course of the movie. I kind of wish they had shown us a bit more of it. It was never revealed how Peter’s parents first reacted to their son’s relationship to Gloria.
Overall, it was an entertaining movie that I can imagine a lot of people will like due to its cute storyline.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is being shown at the London Film Festival on October 12th and October 15th.
It will have its general release on November 17th in the UK. It will also have a limited theatrical run on the US on December 29th.