LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:
The actress Keira Knightley has made her career in period films: "Atonement," "Pride and Prejudice," "The Duchess." And you might even call her biggest hits, the "Pirates of Caribbean" movies, period pieces too. Her new film, "The Edge of Love," takes place in London during the Blitz. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has a review.
KENNETH TURAN: "Edge of Love" has quite the pedigree. Its actors are gifted and almost criminally attractive. Plus, it's story involves the tempestuous private life of Dylan Thomas, one of Britain's biggest literary celebrities. But instead of inspiring superlatives, "Edge of Love" leaves a bitter, unsatisfying aftertaste that lingers for days. Keira Knightley is Vera, a beautiful young singer during the London blitz attracting the attention of an earnest young soldier. But Vera only has eyes for her old childhood pal Dylan Thomas. Then Dylan's wife Caitlin shows up at a pub and the party really begins.
(Soundbite of movie, "The Edge of Love")
Ms. KEIRA KNIGHTLEY (As Vera Phillips): You're late.
Mr. MATTHEWS RHYS (As Dylan Thomas): I know. It's all her fault.
Ms. SIENNA MILLER (As Caitlin MacNamara): This your friend?
Mr. RHYS (As Dylan Thomas): Queen of Ireland, love of my life, mother of my child - Caitlin Thomas.
Ms. KNIGHTLEY (As Vera Phillips): Your wife then, the one and only. He didn't mention, or he wouldn't, would he. I might like you, then again I might not.
TURAN: This kind of glib, jaunty-in-the-face-of-death dialogue is typical for "Edge of Love." All these people, however, especially the egocentric poet, come off as much more off-putting than the film considers them to be. The film alternates between glitz and unpleasantness and ends up as a kind of glum soap opera, too glam to be bleak and too bleak to be so glam. And it doesn't get any better when things get worse. The soldier is sent overseas, directly into the horrors of war, and screams of wounded men in pain are soon intercut with screams of a woman giving birth back home in Britain. Yes, it's that kind of a movie. What happens next is a tsunami of loneliness, jealousy and messy emotional entanglements.
Taken all together, these people's lives come off as irritating, not enthralling. To put it bluntly, you don't particularly like anyone in this movie when they're happy and you like them even less when they're not.
WERTHEIMER: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times. We have more movie reviews, including the horror remake "The Last House on the Left," at npr.org.
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