I had the chance last night to catch Evening, an ensemble piece starring some of the most heavy-hitting female actresses working today. Oh. My. Lord. See this movie. Now. Like, immediately.
Ann (Vanessa Redgrave/Claire Danes) is on her deathbed, reflecting on some of the defining moments of her life. Her two daughters, Connie (Natasha Richardson) and Nina (Toni Collette), grapple with the complications of their own lives and the idea of their mother's passing.
In her waning moments, Ann primarily dwells on a single weekend in her life, when she serves as the maid of honor at her friend Lila's (Mamie Gummer/Meryl Streep) wedding. During the weekend, Ann meets Harris (Patrick Wilson), whom she falls in love with and never truly forgets. However, due to a tragic accident during the wedding weekend (and relationships they share with others), Ann and Harris do not end up together. They both marry, have children, and lead separate lives. And as she is preparing to leave this world, Ann wonders if not being with Harris (and not pursuing her dream of becoming a professional singer more devotedly) is the biggest mistake of her life.
As the story continues, the viewer begins to see that maybe there ARE no mistakes in life. Only choices, the choices that make us who we are and shape our experience. (This reminded me much of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you go around trying to change what you've done or erase what you think you shouldn't have done, you are not going to be the same person. You won't know the same things, feel the same things, learn the same things.) Maybe the only thing we can do, upon reflecting, is be as satisfied as we can be that we are the sum of the choices we've made.
At any rate, the film is beautifully written, gloriously performed, and lovely to look at. It will make you think a bit, too. And with a cast of Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep, Natasha Richardson, and a small role by Glenn Close, you can't go wrong.