Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Genre journeyman Paul McGuigan (Victor Frankenstein) directs this thoroughly ordinary and unmemorable biopic about the real-life romance between fading film star Gloria Grahame and a much younger British actor named Peter Turner (the script is adapted from Turner’s book of the same name). Annette Bening plays Grahame, an Oscar-winning actress in the 1950s exiled to off-Broadway by the 1970s when she met the struggling Turner. Their hot-and-cold, often alcohol-fueled relationship took them from the Liverpool tenements to the Pacific coast and back again, and they only reconciled as she approached her death. The problem with these sort of ex-boyfriend biopics is that they use a tangential relationship to a celebrity to lowball their story rights, resulting in a story that focuses away from the only character that we care about. Bening is good as Grahame, but it has practically become an annual ritual for her to excel in something forgettable.