Well, this is finally happening: Kenneth Lonergan‘s “Margaret,” the long-delayed, much discussed, often troubled drama about a young girl (Anna Paquin) who accidentally causes a horrific bus accident, is finally making its way onto DVD and Blu-ray in July. This is great news for anyone who missed the movie’s brief theatrical release last fall, but even better news for fans of the film (we are a small group, but we’re very vocal). As The New Yorker reports, the film will be available in both the original theatrical cut (which ran two-and-a-half-hours) alongside a new director’s cut (with an additional 36 minutes of footage), presumably in a two-disc edition, on DVD at least. So all those dangling subplots and unresolved conflicts may not be dangling and unresolved for much longer .
“Margaret’s” path to the big screen was famously tortured, with a prolonged editorial period that was punctuated by multiple lawsuits and several high profile filmmakers stepping in and trying to assist Lonergan in reaching his big screen goal (among them two filmmakers who are now dead: Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, which is just one of many reminders of how long this thing took to get finished). The last director to try and shape “Margaret” was Martin Scorsese, who helped craft a version that was even longer than the one eventually released by Fox Searchlight last fall (we’re not sure how closely that version resembles this home video release – let the speculation begin).
The film is a difficult one, for sure, with a kind of novelistic sprawl, but found a number of high profile champions around the time critics were putting out their annual top ten lists (including our own). This led to a mini-movement for critics and Academy voters to actually get copies of the film (Fox Searchlight wasn’t sending out screeners), something identified, on Twitter at least, as being a part of Team Margaret. That might not have led to any Academy Award nominations but it did increase the film’s profile, and in part led to several screenings at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center, hosted by Lonergan.
Of course, since “Margaret” seems to carry with it an air of undesirability, the film will only be available through Amazon. Presumably this means that it won’t be available through iTunes or Netflix, which is a real shame for a film that desperately deserves to be seen by more people. We were terrified it wouldn’t even get a Blu-ray release, so we’re excited and relieved about that, this extra half-hour-plus of footage is the cherry on top. What will this new version of “Margaret” hold? Extra Mark Ruffalo, perhaps? A considerably more focused third act? We’ll have to wait and see on July 10th, when “Margaret” comes out on DVD and Blu-ray.