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TIFF17 | Annette Bening Shines in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool


Softly spoken just like Marilyn Monroe, the sultry Gloria Grahame won a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance in 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful. She appeared in films alongside Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Lana Turner and Kirk Douglas…but her moment of fame was sadly short lived and how she spent her later years is now the subject of a beautiful and rare film.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool features an energized and whimsical Annette Bening paired perfectly with the ever-so-hunky Jamie Bell, who plays the stars much younger boyfriend. Jamie takes on the role of Peter Turner, a working-class English actor living in Liverpool who meets Gloria after her prime when she moves into his apartment building. They quickly develop a passionate relationship, opening up their hearts to each other, no holds barred. They even admit to both having enjoyed rowsing romances with members of the same sex, during a time where anything gay was seriously taboo.

Drawing on Turner’s memoir of the same name, director Paul McGuigan has crafted a narrative that perfectly encapsulates the enthusiastic Hollywood star’s time spent living in Liverpool in the 1970s. Gloria is in her 50s, but her positive energy and youthful eccentricity leave Peter, who is just 28, wild eyed by the new larger-than-life personality he’s tenderly coupling.

The audience follows the swooning duo from England to Los Angeles, from stage to hospital, and from elation to despair. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a dreamy throwback love story rarely depicted on the silver screen, and most importantly confirms, ever so innocently, that age is no barrier when looking for love.

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