“The Last of Robin Hood” (2014)
Movie star Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline) sees a young woman walking across the movie lot and is instantly attracted to her. He sends an assistant over to find out about the woman and if she would be willing to meet Flynn. The young woman is Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning), an aspiring actress/singer/dancer who has just landed a small part in the chorus line of a musical. After a bit of flirting on both parts, Beverly agrees to go out with Flynn that night, under the pretense that she will be auditioning for a part in an upcoming play that Flynn is doing on Broadway. Later that night, after much flirting, mostly by Flynn, they very suddenly sleep together. Little does Flynn know that not only Beverly was a virgin, but she is only 15-years old.READ MORE: Jimmy Kimmel Burned Hair During Thanksgiving
Beverly is not driven to be the best actress or dancer, but pleasing her mother, Flo (Susan Sarandon), a former dancer who lost her leg and her career in a car accident. She has big plans for Beverly, trying to make her into the star that she never was. Flo acquired Beverly’s false birth certificate so that she could work as an adult in Hollywood. From the beginning, Flynn charms Flo, who can only see a bright, star-studded future for her daughter, now that she Flynn as a mentor. By the time that Flynn learns Beverly’s true age, he is too smitten to care.
Flynn had a reputation as a womanizer – some of his conquests were much younger than him. Early in his career he beat a statutory rape charge involving an underage woman. Kevin Kline, in the best performance of his in years, plays Flynn as a man whose contempt for Hollywood and its ability to quickly build up and quickly tear down its own creations. Kline is suited for the role of a handsome, charismatic man whose ego is constantly being stroked by his fans and the studio. Kline’s Flynn is a man who knows his days are numbered, but is driven to play out his last days as he did as a much younger man. Kline also lets us see Flynn as a man who is desperate for adoration. He is a man ready to tempt the law once again just to have someone worship at his feet.
Susan Sarandon plays Flo as the homemaker so desperate to make her daughter a star she is willing to do just about everything, including turning a blind eye to what her daughter is doing with Flynn. Sarandon convincingly plays Flo as someone who wants to be a part of the Hollywood scene no matter what the cost. It’s a difficult role because Flo is the most unsympathetic of the three main characters. Sarandon lets bits and pieces of Flo’s humanity briefly out, only to have her ambition take hold again. While not ugly in appearance, Sarandon plays Flo as an ugly person from the inside. She plays off of both Dakota Fanning and Kevin Kline with a chemistry that feels real and at times very raw.READ MORE: Netflix's Most Watched Movie Of All Time
Dakota Fanning doesn’t quite measure up to her two co-stars in the role of the untalented and slightly boring Beverly. Fanning never gives us a reason why Flynn would risk everything to be with her. She plays the young actress with so little charisma or energy that you question if someone like Shailene Woodley or Chloë Grace Moretz would have been better suited to the role. Fanning’s performance reminded me of the role she played in the 2010 bio-pic “The Runaways.” Playing lead singer Cherie Currie, her performance made me wish that the film had been about Kristen Stewart’s character Joan Jett, instead of centering around Currie.
The cinematography by Michael Simmonds expertly captures the look and feel of the 50’s with an almost classic film look. The costumes, designed by Karyn Wagner, perfectly set the mood of the film, depicting a period where America’s fashion sense was rather boring and stuck in the times, just waiting for the flower power sixties to erupt. The script by co-writers/directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland captures the sleazy feel of Hollywood and a studio system that was on it’s last legs. There is a wonderful scene late in the film where Flynn is talking to Stanley Kubrick about taking the role of Professor Humbert Humbert in “Lolita.” It’s a part that each man knows is perfect for him, but Flynn is determined to get Beverly cast has Lolita, something that both men know she doesn’t have the talent to play. Flynn makes it an all or nothing deal and Kubrick quickly turns him down, knowing that Flynn would rather settle for love than for a part.
Despite the fine performances of Kline and Sarandon, the film is pulled down by the fact that the film centers around Beverly, the least interesting character in the film and that part is played by an actress that doesn’t have the star quality to make it her own. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it AgainAll American - 'Show Me A Good Time'