The Seagull

Rated 2.0

This tedious adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s groundbreaking 1896 play The Seagull drearily “opens up” the drama while simultaneously draining it of any essence. Director Michael Mayer and screenwriter Stephen Karam set the action in 1905 Russia, although every character speaks in a vaguely British accent. Annette Bening headlines the ensemble as Irina, a Moscow actress who brings her successful writer lover Boris (Corey Stoll) to the country to visit her brother (Brian Dennehy) and her pretentious son Konstantin (Billy Howle). The story is essentially a series of unrequited romances: the village teacher loves the sour Masha (Elisabeth Moss), who pines for Konstantin, who along with Boris fixates on the simple country girl Nina (Saoirse Ronan). Unfortunately, Mayer displays no ability for pacing or structure, and the performances are wildly inconsistent. If you’re looking for a tragic romance tinged with class-war considerations, there are many better films to watch; if you’re looking for a nap, very few. D.B.