Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) Poster

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10/10
A Love Story
gradyharp3 May 2018
One of the most overlooked, exquisitely sensitive films of 2017 somehow slipped past all attention to awards. Based on a true story - published by Peter Turner in 1986 - of a late in life affair between screen icon Gloria Grahame and young actor Peter Turner - this film is radiantly beautiful. The screenplay adaptation is by Matt Greenhalgh and the sensitive direction is the work of Paul McGuigan.

The story covers the years 1979 - 1981. In 1979 Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) is in England starring on stage in The Glass Menagerie and flirts with young actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell), a bisexual young actor who falls under the spell of the femme fatale and despite the significant age difference they fall in love and begin and affair that is real, tender, and meaningful to both. As their mismatched romance waxes and wanes over time, events conspire to keep them in each other's lives even when it proves difficult and demanding. Ultimately, they find that they must each come to terms with whatever fate they face in the future whether they are together or apart. Grahame has breast cancer, a fact she conceals from Peter, and as she becomes close to Peter's family - mother Bella (Julie Walters), father Joe SR (Kenneth Cranham), and brother Joe Jr. (Stephen Graham) - she reveals her illness. On a trip to Los Angeles Gloria and Peter live together in Gloria's house trailer by the Pacific ocean, and are visited by Gloria's mother (Vanessa Redgrave) and sister Joy (Frances Barber) before they return to Peter's home in Liverpool. Gloria grows weaker and ultimately decides to return to her American physician for chemotherapy, escorted by one of her real sons Tim (Tom Brittney) from one of her four marriages, leaving Peter with love and concern that he care for his own family. The story is an affectionate, moving, and wryly humorous memoir of friendship, love, and stardom.

Oscar worthy performances by Bening, Bell, Walters and the entire cast make this film luminous - one that needs to be seen more than once to fully appreciate all the fine qualities - acting, photography, musical score, and direction. Highly recommended
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7/10
Annette Bening robbed by the Oscars yet AGAIN
paul-allaer26 February 2018
"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" (2017 release; 107 min.) is a movie about the last years in the life of actress Gloria Grahame. As the movie opens (and Elton John's "Song For Guy" plays in the background), we are told it's "Liverpool, England, 1981" and we see Gloria applying make-up and getting ready for a theater performance. But she falls ill. She reaches out to Peter Turner in nearby Liverpool and asks if she can come stay at his mum's house. Peter agrees. We then go back in time to "Primrose Hill, London, 1979", and we see Peter running into Gloria for the first time. At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is latest from Scottish director Paul McGuigan, best known for "Victor Frankenstein". Here he brings the real life memoir of Peter Turner to the big screen. Turner met faded film star in the late 70s when he was 28 and she was twice that age. i shan't say more (biting my lips). Let's be very clear about one thing: leading actress Annette Bening is absolutely fantastic in this movie. You might think that, having been criminally overlooked in last year's Oscar nominations for he outstanding work in "20th Century Women", the Academy would be a bit more careful this time around. But no. Bening is once again robbed by the Academy, which instead once again lazily gave another nomination to Meryl Streep for her ok (but by no means outstanding) work in the very medicore "The Post" (an "All President's Men" wanna-be that is nowhere close to that gold standard). Jamie Bell is equally up to the task, but has nowhere near the stature or screen presence of Bening. Vanessa Redgrave appear in one scene. The movie's set production (recreating the late 70s/early 80s) is immaculate. Last but not least there is a lot f great music in the film, both as to the score and the song placements.

"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" has been gradually expanding over the last 2 months, and it finally opened last weekend at my local art house theater here in Cincinnati. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay (about 15 people or so). Other than the very basic premise of an older woman's relationship with a younger guy, I knew nothing about the movie beforehand, and I ended up enjoying this quite a bit more than I had expected. But it the end, this film is really about Annette Bening's outstanding performance, and that alone is worth checking this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
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8/10
A love story with a kick in the gut , anyone?
tkn1001516 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Frankly, I was upset when Annette Bening did such great work in 20th Century Women, which a few of you saw, and wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Once upon a time in movies, people related to one another in funny, sad and flawed human ways. That was 20th Century Women and Ms. Bening was pushed out at Oscar time by that beloved film icon nominated for yowling and singing painfully off key. A travesty. Booray for Hollywood. Assessing no blame to our nameless beloved scenery chewer because she can't help getting nominated for merely belching, with or without an accent. Now, having been swept away by Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool, I'm not upset anymore. Ms Bening and Jamie Bell had me at "How do I look?" Tough cookie 50's film star Gloria Grahame stumbled through her life without much love or tenderness. With Jamie Bell's character Peter Turner, she not only found them but allowed them for a little while. I wanted to be there for every moment Gloria and much younger Peter were together. Throw in Julie Walters as Peter's mum, Vanessa Redgrave as Gloria's mom, and, no-slouch-she Frances Barber as Gloria's jealous toxic sister, and you've got a jewel of a film that may or may not get the recognition it deserves. But I've got my memories of the great Julie Walters, as Peter's Mum, crushing me simply saying "time to let go of her, son," and Gloria with her life scars and Peter trying to make it all better for her. And he does. Hollywood can't hurt me or Gloria anymore. She has passed on and my illusions about talent and fine work being rewarded are gone. It could happen though that Ms. Bening, like Elizabeth Taylor before her, gets her Oscar one year and one film later. This time, if it happens, it will be given for this year's best performance by an actress. Because. trust me, it is.
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8/10
a 2017 hidden gem
dave-mcclain4 February 2018
"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" (R, 1:45) is a romantic drama based on a couple of years in the life of Gloria Grahame, an Oscar winner and veteran of such classic films as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Oklahoma". Multiple Oscar-nominee Annette Bening plays Grahame, mostly during her time in Liverpool, England, where she met, had an affair with and was ultimately nursed through a serious illness by much younger man (and local Liverpool actor), Peter Turner (BAFTA Award winner Jamie Bell).

Peter meets Gloria when she moves into his apartment building. They quickly go from being neighbors to friends to lovers. Peter doesn't seem bothered by their age difference and Gloria seems to cherish it, but it inevitably leads to hurt feelings and conflict between them. Nevertheless, they work through the rough patches and Gloria becomes very friendly with Peter's family. When Gloria returns to Liverpool after living in New York for awhile and she is obviously ill, she reaches out to Peter and ends up staying with his family, who all pitch in to take care of the ailing actress. As Gloria's illness progresses and she begs Peter not to take her to any doctors or notify her adult children in the U.S., Peter and his family struggle to find the best way to help Gloria... while Peter deals with his lingering feelings for her.

"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" is a sweet and sad story of star-crossed lovers in an especially unusual May-December relationship. It's terrifically acted and creatively shot and edited. It's a wonder why this hidden gem didn't garner more accolades during the 2017-2018 movie awards season. "A-"
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8/10
Film quality hasn't died
TheLittleSongbird30 November 2017
With such a great cast (Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham, Stephen Graham, Vanessa Redgrave and Frances Barber) and a fascinating subject matter detailing a passionate true-life romance concerning film noir icon Gloria Grahame and jobbing actor Peter Turner, 'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool' intrigued me.

On the most part, while not perfect, 'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool' did not disappoint and did its subject justice. There wasn't much to criticise for me actually, though the quality of the production values left me torn. On one hand, there's lovely costumes and very handsome photography. On the other, some of the sets are garish and lack authenticity and some of the wigs are a fright. Especially Stephen Graham's that looked like it came from an old comedy sketch on loan.

'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool' however is anchored by Bening at her most fearless and vulnerable and her passionate chemistry with Bell giving the most mature work of his career.

Walters, Cranham and Graham are as expected first class support, particularly Walters. Redgrave and Barber have a terrific scene. Paul McGuigan directs with class.

The elegiac music score adds enormously. The nostalgic atmosphere is evoked beautifully, and the story, while slight, was easy to get behind thanks to the performances, the romance having the passion it does and the emotional resonance of when Grahame's career and health ails. Can't fault the script either, which is full of wit and poignancy.

In short, very intriguing and well done. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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9/10
A wonderful inspiring movie
sally-w16 March 2018
We saw this in Wellington at the Brooklyn Penthouse Theatre. They moved it because so many wanted to see it, from their small 30 seat screening to a much bigger one where there were definitely more people. What a wonderful story. Cheering positive lovable without a hint of saccharine or self-pity and a fascinating script - sympathetic without being unreal.

I will have to find the book and read it. Annette Bening is fantastic and Jamie Bell enthralling. Well done all for a crisp enjoyable movie.

(BTW in typical English style they don't hit you over the head with the point - you get to think for your self)
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A moving true story
rogerdarlington3 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In the late 1970s, Academy Award-winning American actress Gloria Grahame - four times married and deeply troubled - struck up an unusual relationship with an actor from Liverpool called Peter Turner who was some three decades younger than her. This British film is based on Turner's account of their life together and is ably directed by Scottish Paul McGuigan. The director eschews the classic jump flash-back in favour of a series of more subtle slides from one period to another. However, the American scenes are clearly staged in the studio in the interests of a small budget.

The role of GG (Glo to her beau) is terrific for Annette Bening who brings real star quality and a nuanced performance to the part. Jamie Bell - who has come a long way since "Billy Elliot" 17 years ago - does well in the company of such star power and, among the well-cast minor roles, we have the inestimable Julie Walters who guided Billy Elliot all those years ago.

There are some memorable scenes: Grahame and Turner dancing together when they first meet, a recital of "Romeo And Juliet" in an empty theatre (where the real Turner has a tiny role), a clever repeat of the same scene viewed from the different perspectives of the two principals, and of course the farewell departure. Also the attention to period detail is noticeable: that terrible flowered wallpaper, the dial telephone in the hallway, and Elton John's "Song For Guy" (I remember it all).
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5/10
Lack of vision
gsygsy15 November 2017
Annette Bening and Jamie Bell play star-crossed lovers, with the emphasis on 'star'. Ms Bening is, as ever, excellent, this time playing a real-life Hollywood actress, Gloria Grahame, herself a remarkable and original talent. If this film rekindles interest in Ms Grahame's formidable back catalogue of performances, that's no bad thing.

However, FILM STARS...centres on Peter Turner, a jobbing actor whose life takes an unexpected turn when he falls in love with Ms Grahame. As Turner, Jamie Bell, who has developed into an accomplished supporting actor over the years since BILLY ELLIOT, is promoted to leading man. He's excellent. A revelation. Authoritative, sexy, strong, romantic, vulnerable -- you name it, Mr Bell communicates it sincerely, without any sense of artifice. A first-rate performance.

It's a pity that the film is so hand-me-down in other ways. The everlastingly wonderful Julie Walters does everything possible with the stereotypical Liverpool mum that she's been provided with, but neither she nor other stalwarts -- Kenneth Cranham, Stephen Graham, Frances Barber and even Vanessa Redgrave -- can transcend their characters' functionality. Production values are all over the place (the wigs!), while the decision to use back projection for the scenes in New York and California seems to me to demonstrate the inconsistency at the heart of the director's approach. Rather than expressing the rosy glow of memory, which I suspect was the justification, these scenes merely look cheap. It might have been wiser to set the whole thing in a studio, as Joe Wright did with his ANNA KARENINA or Baz Lurhmann with his MOULIN ROUGE. Whatever the flaws of those two movies, the overall artistic vision was equal to the project in hand. I don't think that's the case here, unfortunately.
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7/10
a gentle tribute to a former starlet
ferguson-625 January 2018
Greetings again from the darkness. Old Hollywood glamour is merely something we read about or reminisce about these days. Part of the reason is that we are almost as likely to see a favorite star on TV as in a new movie, and a bigger cause is that we simply know too much about them as people ... the mystique has been replaced by (too many) personal details and divisive political influence.

Classic movie lovers always have favorite performers, and there were certainly some great ones in the Golden Era: Bogart, Gable, Hepburn, Davis, etc; however, I've always felt there was one actress who time seems to have forgotten. Gloria Grahame never seemed to choose the easy route (either on screen or real life), and she turned in some terrific performances in the 1940's and 50's. You might only know her as Violet in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, but she was also an Oscar winner for THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952), and had standout roles in OKLAHOMA! (1955), THE BIG HEAT (1953), and IN A LONELY PLACE (1950). Her talent allowed her to fit as well for a musical or family film, as in the Noir Thrillers for which she seemed to thrive.

So why all the background on a mostly forgotten actress from a bygone era? Because Annette Bening magically channels the late actress in her role as Ms. Grahame in the final stages of her life. Director Paul McGuigan's film is based on the memoir of Peter Turner, a young man who had a relationship with the actress in her later years. Turner is played here by Jamie Bell (BILLY ELLIOT) and he and Ms. Bening are so believable, that we are fully drawn in by their characters and their touching story.

Opening with the actress in her dressing room prepping for a dinner theatre version of "The Glass Menagerie", the film conveys much in these few minutes. Clearly, this is an actress far removed from the Hollywood spotlight. We also sense her immense pride is still present, and the glass of milk is for relief from her discomfort ... later self-diagnosed as "gas".

We start in 1981 and flashback to 1979. Creative transitions between scenes and times add a stylish element to a story that is ultimately about human relationships, aging and loneliness. The need to be cared for when sick is as crucial as the importance of being a dependable caregiver for loved ones. The film's script from Matt Greenhalgh allows for an empathetic look at these topics through the eyes of people we quickly care about.

Julie Walters (Bell's dance teacher in BILLY ELLOT) is exceptional as Turner's mother and Ms. Grahame's caregiver. Other supporting roles include Kenneth Cranham as Turner's dad, Stephen Graham as his fiery brother, and Vanessa Redgrave as Ms. Grahame's mother. We never get the back story on why Ms. Grahame feels so connected to the Turner family - only that the 28 year age difference between herself and Peter didn't much matter to either of them.

There is a sexually-charged disco dance with Ms. Grahame and Peter in her hotel room that makes clear why any young man might fall for her, but it's really in the quieter moments where the film and Ms. Bening and Mr. Bell shine. The emotions and pain are palpable, and yet neither her spirit nor his devotion will quit. The music from Jose Feliciano and Elvis Costello is terrific and comfortably fits a story of love and aging and illness, while also reminding us ... once a starlet, always a starlet, even when the star has faded.
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7/10
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017)
rockman18231 December 2017
The bulk of Academy season hopefuls have come and gone but I see one last one with Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool. I was immediately interested in what the film was offering. A relationship portrayed by Annete Bening and Jamie Bell? Very interesting. If anything I could see a possible Oscar nomination for Bening. After watching I did enjoy the film for what it was. Its well acted and fairly emotional.

The film is based on the real life memoir by Peter Turner (of the same name as the film), where he recollects the relationship he had with the famous Hollywood actress, Gloria Grahame. He encounters Grahame in the later stages of her life, when she is working at Liverpool in stage plays. Grahame and Turner begin a relationship which is marred by Grahame's spreading breast cancer, which she eventually succumbs to. From what I've read after the film, the events of the film seem to cover the incidents of real life pretty accurately.

Annette Bening kind of disappears into the role of Gloria Grahame. Its a really good performance from her. Same with Jamie Bell. The film is really carried by these two and their wonderful relationship. The film does have periods that drag and could have been portrayed in a more straightforward fashion, but the film never really loses its charm which is actually a strong selling point.

I loved Elvis Costello's "You Shouldn't Look at Me That Way", made specially for this film. Its a gorgeous theme and the parts that were included in romantic moments between Gloria and Peter made their relationship seem magical. Overall I don't the film is excellent, though the performances and romance and the film make it worth a watch. You can't help put feel sad for Gloria and Peter by the end of the film.

7/10
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6/10
Film stars don't die in Liverpool
henry8-316 September 2018
Oscar winner Gloria Graeme, no longer an in demand Hollywood star, spends her last years appearing in plays in the UK where she falls in love with a young Liverpudlian.

Very sad, moving film about love and death with a fine performance by Bell. It is though Bening's film, who is absolutely on top form. Not getting an Oscar nod was very strange, particularly given some of the nominees in 2018.

Worth seeing if you're up for it - but be warned, not a lot of laughs.
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9/10
It's true--film stars don't die in Liverpool
Red-12516 March 2018
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) was directed by Paul McGuigan. The star of the movie is Annette Bening, who portrays the actor Gloria Grahame.

Those of us who remember Gloria Grahame on the screen remember her just as director McGuigan remembers her. She was beautiful and sexy. Every leading man desired her, often to their peril. She was an Academy Award winner.

In the movie, Grahame is ill and returns to a house in Liverpool where she had stayed when she was younger. She's no longer a star--just a woman who is able to hang on because some people remember when she was a marquee name.

The film is melodramatic, and Liverpool looks dark and forlorn. Still, it's worth seeing the movie to watch Bening act. She inhabits the role of Grahame, and I believe Bening could see the possibility of her own career ending up like Grahame's career.

We saw this movie at Rochester's wonderful Little Theatre. It will work well on the small screen. The film has a dismal 6.9 IMDb rating. It's better than that. See it and decide for yourself.
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7/10
Touching
gbill-7487726 September 2018
A middle-aged American actress (Annette Benning) turns to her young ex-lover (Jamie Bell) and his family in Liverpool when her health problems take a turn for the worse. Oh and by the way, the actress is screen legend Gloria Grahame, and the film is based on the real-life memoir of her lover, Peter Turner.

Told in flashbacks and memories, director Paul McGuigan keeps the pace of the film up, which helps offset the depressing aspects of the story, which of course involves the inevitable decay to the body, even with those immortalized as such bright stars in the universe of movies. The scene of an argument the pair have, shown first from his perspective and then later from hers, is excellent. It reminds us to consider that there may be all sorts of things in another person's thoughts that may explain their actions which we don't understand. The scene where the pair go on the stage of an old empty theater to recite from 'Romeo and Juliet' is very touching. It reminds us that the romance and feelings of one's heart don't disappear, even if the skin wrinkles and looks fade.

Benning received accolades for her performance and is certainly solid, displaying a lot of range and honesty, but I'm not sure if she quite captures Gloria Grahame. Bell is fine too, particularly in scenes with his family, where we see the moral force of his parents (Julie Walters and Kenneth Cranham), as well as his wonderfully combative brother (Stephen Graham). The film is not meant as a complete biography by any means, focusing on these last few years of her life and her relationship with this young actor, but at the same time, it would have been nice to see more clips from her films, even if they had been just interspersed with the credits rolling. All in all though, it's a touching film whether you know Gloria Grahame or not.
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9/10
A beginning simple love story with the level of complexity in the end
jeannefrancoise10 January 2018
Dear readers, now I am going to show you why I gave 9 stars for Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) movie. Well, I am not a fan of sad movies, nor black and white movies at the 1950s-1970s, but I know Gloria Grahame and this movie is dedicated to her. This movie is showing us all aspects about Gloria Grahame; what were her problems, how she was facing it, where she ever felt a love in the last of her days, and with whom. This movie has some differences with the reality life of Gloria Grahame, because this movie is based on the book of Peter Turner, but at least the audience can see the struggles of love that Gloria had, to stand for it, to beg it, to embrace it, and to loose it. The character of Annie Benning is quite dramatic and stunning. She is so beautiful and was successful to be Gloria Grahame. Her counterpart also gives the best acting, as a young boy falling in love with the superstar from the era of his mother. Such a wow. This movie is sad from the beginning and makes me so mellow with an idea; that even a superstar, that assumed to have everything, can not have everything at all. Despite of watching this drama movie, this is not a boring movie, nor make us sleepy at the theater, because the setting was in Liverpool and New York in 1980s. The two big cities in that glorious time of young stars, linked up because of the love between two main actors; old lady and young actor. Then, this movie makes you up awake and guess how is the ending, dear ladies and gentleman, because Gloria Grahame is such an inspiring character for all movie stars and we do not want this movie has an ending.
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7/10
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool: An Emotional Love Story.
brankovranjkovic18 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Based on a true story, this biographical drama follows the romance between a younger man, Peter Turner played by Jamie Bell, and 1950's black and white former A-list Hollywood star, now aging actress Gloria Grahame, played by Annette Benning.

Set between 1978 – 1981 in Liverpool and USA. The lead actors meet and there is an immediate chemistry, Grahame is diagnosed with cancer and she turns to the Bell family for comfort in Liverpool, where she is welcomed. She wanted to build her strength and recuperate, although the cancer has taken hold and obviously progressed too far.

Their romance only lasts for a few years, we see how this develops into a deep passion through some very clever and well done flashback sequences.

This is a very emotional love story. Jamie Bell provides a standout, convincing award winning performance.

Highly recommended.
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2/10
but apparently films do, and this is one.....
pilot10099 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Story - aging low level starlett seduces not too bright liverpool lad as her swan song, the end. Not much to enjoy here not much of a story and certainly not much entertainment. Another example of pretentious arty rubbish masquerading as a thoughtful or thought-provoking film.
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10/10
Annette Bening deserves her Oscar
dierregi8 January 2019
The fact that Bening was never awarded an Oscar stands as a clear proof of the unfairness of the Hollywood system. Bening is one of the most talented actresses ever and she proved it many times. In this movie she is absolutely amazing, delivering - possibly - her best performance ever.

I am a sucker for film noir, so I obviously knew Gloria Grahame but I had no idea she had such a turbulent life. The movie is about her last three years and her affair with Peter, a much younger English man, whom she met while touring England. The script is based on the book Peter wrote and it is drenched in melancholy, with some sparkles of joy.

Bening is believable as Grahame, even if the resemblance is never pushed and the movie could be about any fading film star. The story start with Gloria getting ready for a theatre performance and falling sick. This is 1981 and we are soon taken back a couple of years earlier, by the first of a few flashbacks.

In 1979, during another tour in London, Gloria met Peter, a struggling actor from Liverpool. The two struck an unlikely friendship, with Gloria flirting with the young guy from the start and asking him to be her "dancing partner".

Gloria and Peter first scene together is brilliant. The young, unsophisticated Peter is totally fascinate by the mature Gloria and starts shaking around and stripping in an uncontrolled way, while Gloria watches, amused. The Gloria-Peter love story is seen only in flashbacks, while the main action takes place in 1981, with Gloria sick and lodging in Peter's working class home in Liverpool.

The two leads have excellent chemistry and their emotions are totally believable: Gloria does not want to drag Peter into what she knows is the last chapter of her life and Peter is totally fascinated by the exotic, aggressive, unconventional American woman.

Towards the end, the scene of them playing Juliet and Romeo in an empty theatre is totally heart wrenching.

I found this movie most moving and undeservedly ignored at awards time. Maybe because of the melancholy... but then again, that's the way life is, with hardly any happy ending in sight.

PS and even Grahame got an Oscar....
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10/10
Incredible
cmlp-0939922 September 2018
It´s been a while since I´ve felt compelled enough to write a review, but this film deserved one as it is absolutely outstanding. The acting is one of the best I´ve seen, the way it is done, the atmosphere, how they linked the story, the music, EVERYTHING.

While we´re flooded with too many commercial and mediocre films, suddenly this one stands out as a true work of art.
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5/10
Not a pleasant story
phd_travel20 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Annette Benning acts well as Gloria Graeme in this sad story about the end of her life. She develops a romance with a younger man in England when she is doing theatre there. Jamie Bell is a good actor but not exactly romantic lead material.

Don't like the way things had to end. Why didn't she just tell him?

Not a must watch.
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10/10
fame may decline, but memories will last
lee_eisenberg23 August 2018
It's practically a given that when a Hollywood actress reaches a certain age range, Hollywood no longer wants her, and she has to pursue other endeavors. This is one element of Paul McGuigan's "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool", about Gloria Grahame's romance with a young Englishman while she was performing on the stage in the port town towards the end of her life. An Oscar-winner in her heyday, Grahame had all but disappeared from the screen and was now battling breast cancer.

Annette Bening puts all her energy into the role of the beleaguered Grahame, while Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott, King Kong, The Adventures of Tintin) is quite fine as her young lover. I guess that a person still needs to feel connected at any age, especially after getting treated as "past her prime". I recommend the movie.

Also starring Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters (Educating Rita) and Stephen Cranham.
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3/10
can't fault the acting
Elefantom12 February 2019
But I just found the character of Gloria Grahame awfully shallow and couldn't understand what her appeal would have been to anybody, particularly a much younger man. I just found it increasingly painful to watch.
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6/10
SWEET & TENDER ROMANCE...!
masonfisk9 October 2018
Paul McGuigan (Push/Wicker Park) new's film which details the last years of Gloria Grahame (an Oscar winner for The Bad & the Beautiful) when she decided to do stage roles while having a love affair w/a much younger beau in 1979. The peerless Annette Bening & Jaime Bell (Billy Eliot all grown up) star in this May/December romance which garners small rewards as opposed to a more overblown version which could've been made. Using theatrical devices to tell the story (a character leaves one room in Britain & enters another in California) the focus is on this odd pair, which shouldn't work as per their peers' beliefs but their relationship chugs along in spite of itself. A tad on the obvious side but the performances save the day. Vanessa Redgrave is a welcome treat when she shows up as Bening's mother.
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8/10
A reality check re love
starbase20213 August 2018
I really enjoyed this movie. It reminded me of the ups and downs of love throughout our lives and especially during the endings. And how brave of Ms. Bening to act with little or no makeup.
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4/10
disjointed and disappointing
malcolmgsw20 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Having read the book I was looking forward to seeing the film.It is disjointed and non linear,a handicap when telling a true story.For example places and year are flashed on a blink of an eye on the right hand side of the screen.There are many unanswered questions in both book and film.Why didn't she tell Turner about her cancer,marrying her stepson and her affairs with much younger men,of whom he was the last.
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4/10
Gloria Grahame is a female Woody Allen, so why will people care to see her story?
MultiVitamines4 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Gloria Grahame is a female Woody Allen in the way that she took the virginity of her stepson when he was still a teenager, then married him. Well this movie is not about her relationship with her step son, and the male lead was already 28. But I can't help but wonder why will today's audience care to see her story? In 2017, Sexual harassment news are contaminating Hollywood, so a movie sugar coating a sex predator's last years might not be a good idea.

Anyway, here's my review. I went to watch "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. It starts with a weak story, then ends a disappointment. The film focuses on the last few years of long-forgotten Oscar winner Gloria Grahame's life, esp. her romance with then 28-year-old British young man Peter Turner. The two main leads - Annette Bening and Jamie Bell - gave pretty good performances (esp. Bening who is brave enough to show her age on screen), but the whole romance just doesn't work for me. I know from the beginning the relationship is doomed because of the huge age difference (28 years apart). They were fighting half of the time in the movie, and Jamie Bell's Peter had to see her dying eventually. The movie is depressing, but I don't feel sad because I actually do not care about either the characters or their unremarkable love story. To me the only reason this movie is made is because the real Peter Turner is a long time friend with Bond movies producer Barbara Broccoli (they mentioned this on stage at the screening). The director's decision of using nonlinear narrative also fails. The story jumps back and forth between different years (1979-1981) and locations (Liverpool, LA and NYC),m. Sometimes I got lost a bit. In summary, this is a mediocre Oscar vehicle for Bening, but she will lose again.
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