It looks like Fox Searchlight has finally heard what bloggers and film critics have been saying for weeks. Not only is Kenneth Lonergan’s long-gestating “Margaret” now included on the studio’s awards website, the Twittersphere says that AMPAS members were mailed screeners over the Christmas holiday.
Although Searchlight released the film theatrically in September with little to no promotion, a groundswell of awards support has been building for close to a month, and has turned into a full-fledged hashtag campaign on Twitter (#teammargaret). “Margaret,” which was shot in 2005, has landed on a handful of critics’ end-of-year Top 10 lists, including L.A. Weekly, which features the film’s star Anna Paquin on its cover this week.
However, despite the effusive reactions of critics, most reviews of the film seem to temper the praise with caveats. L.A. Weekly’s Karina Longworth called it a “remarkable mess of a movie” in her initial review, though she said she didn’t mean it in the pejorative in her Dec. 22 story. And The New Yorker’s Richard Brody wrote a review timed with the film’s release that sums up concisely the majority of critics’ reactions: “For all its awkwardness and uncertainty, the film is a city symphony, romantic yet scathing, lyrical with street life and vaulting skylines, reckless with first adventure, and awed by the abstractions, both intellectual and poetic, on which the great machine runs.
Though the film is unlikely to attract attention on the awards front, all of the Twitter mentions and critics’ pleas could help the DVD release, tentatively scheduled for the spring, for a film that Fox Searchlight appears to have almost swept under the rug.