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Kenneth Lonergan Hopes The Longer Cut Of ‘Margaret’ Edited By Martin Scorsese Will Eventually Be Released

Kenneth Lonergan Hopes The Longer Cut Of 'Margaret' Edited By Martin Scorsese Will Eventually Be Released

The rallying cry for “Margaret” continues from certain quarters of the critical community, with a #teammargaret hashtag now tracking its way across the Twittersphere. And the push for the film has resulted in some movement. New York City and Los Angeles critics will apparently be getting additional screenings for awards season consideration (although, they had press screenings already prior to the film’s theatrical release in both cities), with Boston and Chicago to follow, and there is word bubbling that DVD screeners are being prepared for those in cities who did not get the film (though with voting deadlines fast approaching, that remains to be seen).

But the chatter behind the movie — which has increased as the movie opens in the U.K. this weekend — has gone a bit overboard in some instances. The Guardian in particular has accused Fox Searchlight of “burying” the film when the truth is likely far more complicated. With years spent in legal battles and editing suites, despite what some would have you believe, a cool critical reception (64% on Rotten Tomatoes and 58 on Metacritic) combined with a tepid box office performance (though yes, it’s easily argued Fox Searchlight fell asleep on the marketing) has made this a tough release for the studio. In short, it’s likely the film’s delays cost the studio more than they had anticipated and printing up screeners for a movie that didn’t gain a critical consensus probably didn’t make much sense.

And in a way, it still doesn’t. We understand the desire for critics, guilds and voting folks to see as much as they can before weighing in their votes for the Best Of The Year, but as we stated before, those awards come and go almost as soon as they are announced. They are ultimately a small part of a film’s legacy. “Margaret” certainly won’t be in the Golden Globes or Oscar race, and while it’s nice that there’s a push to get the messily masterful film some additional attention, we have to once again assert it’s the director’s cut we should be urging Fox Searchlight to release. And now, director Kenneth Lonergan confirms the unused, longer Martin Scorsese edit of the film is closest to the version that meets his full intentions, though he supports the current iteration.

“I support this cut wholeheartedly and want people to see and like it, because the actors deserve to be seen and appreciated for their amazing work,” he wrote in his statement to Time. “But while I fully support the released cut, it’s also no secret that I tried to get a subsequent version released, which Marty Scorsese very graciously helped with, which even more fully executes my complete intentions — a cut that I still hope will someday, somehow see the light of day.”

Screeners are certainly nice things to get, and there is lots to love (and an equal amount that doesn’t work) in the current version of “Margaret.” But if we know there is a longer cut out there, one that much more closely (if not completely) realizes the movie Lonergan set out to make all those years ago, this is what the critics and movie lovers should be pushing for. Awards, recogniton and top ten lists are nice, but we think Lonergan would prefer people eventually got to see the movie he wanted to make in the first place. And that’s a petition we’d gladly sign.

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From: Planet Earth
To: Kenneth Lonergan
Re: 'Margaret'

Message: The next time filmmakers on the level of Scorsese, Schoonmaker, Pollack and Minghella offer you editing advice, accept it graciously instead of throwing a five-year, Ciminoesque hissy fit which ruins your own film's chances and your reputation.


Yeah….all the kids are clamoring for the latest Kenneth Lonergan movie. Pshhh. Studios are interested in tapping that 14-25 demographic.

Mike D'Angelo

As somebody else noted in response to your previous article, the likelihood of Lonergan's preferred cut being made available would increase significantly if the film got some year-end awards/poll attention, thereby counteracting the impression that nobody much cares (created by the initial reviews and nonexistent box-office). If I worked for Fox Searchlight, I wouldn't be much swayed by the demands of people saying, in effect, "I didn't think much of the cut that got released but I bet the longer version is awesome, SHOW IT TO ME!!!"

Margaret obviously isn't going to get any Oscar or GG nominations, and I doubt it'll even win any prizes from critics' orgs. But I predict it would finish pretty high in the indieWIRE and Village Voice polls even if they were conducted today, and it could conceivably finish very near the top if more participating critics are able to see it before the deadline. Which will pique the interest of a great many people who saw a few reviews on opening day and concluded it was a stiff.

And there are lots of people who disagree with your conclusion that the ratio of "things to love" and "stuff that doesn't work" in the release cut is about 50:50—a conclusion that seems to be influencing your perspective on the campaign.

Molly Madison

I hope the longer cut by Martin Scorsese is released and does the film justice.

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