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Monday, September 1, 2014

"Olive" Oiled in Venice

Glad to see HBO series "Olive Kitteridge" was hailed at Venice festival, as was terrific book and seems like Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins great casting.
McDormand, who acquired the rights to Elizabeth Strout’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and also serves as hands-on executive producer, said that she has been married for 32 years to the same man, and Jenkins 45 years to the same woman. They believe in marriage, and this clearly plays a role in their wanting to make this particular film, which works its way through various strains well known to most long marriages.

This is not an easy film – there’s a lot of death, depression and other difficulties dealt with – and yet it’s always a deep pleasure to watch. It doesn’t hurt that Bill Murray turns up at one of its darker, slower moments, and brings a whole new peas-in-a-pod chemistry to McDormand’s Olive. The extensive supporting cast is uniformly good, notably Zoe Kazan as the over-amped mouse who works for – and affects – Henry, and Peter Mullan as Olive’s counterpart, the alcoholic English teacher Jim O’Casey. Gallagher has his moments, too, particularly as his relationship with Olive begins to fray. Several small roles are also memorable, especially Cory Michael Smith as an ex-student suffering from psychosis, beautifully and frighteningly illustrated by Cholodenko.

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