The Seagull is a film based on the play written by Anton Chekhov in 1895. It has been filmed several times before and performed on stage countless times. The story takes place in a suburb of Moscow, at an elegant home alongside a lake, all of which is beautifully shown in this film. (The actual filming location is New York State.)
Annette Bening is Inira Arkadina, a very successful stage actress, somewhat over the hill, but still active.
Irina is the owner of the estate. She is still beautiful, very miserly, and wonderfully portrayed by Bening. Irina has come to the estate for a visit. Living there is her older brother, Sorin (Brian Dennehy), her son, Konstantine (Billy Howle) and several others — servants, friends, etc.
Irina arrives with her latest lover, Boris (Corey Stoll). Boris is younger than she is and he is a very prominent author. Konstantine is an aspiring writer, but he is not an admirer of Boris’s work.
Konstantine has a love interest, a young neighbor, Nina (Saoirse Ronan). Nina loves Konstantine, but she is taken with the handsome Boris. Boris is drawn to the lovely young girl. Konstantine is jealous; Irina is jealous.
That’s only part of the story. There is another pair of young people involved. Masha (Elisabeth Moss), the estate manager’s daughter, is in love with Konstantine.
Masha, a heavy drinker and dope sniffer, is loved by Mikhail (Michael Zegen), a poor school teacher.
The major conflict here is the tension between Irina and her son, Konstantine. They have issues in addition to the double love triangle. They argue, they make up and argue again. Konstantine has a volatile personality and is unable to deal with Nina’s abandonment of him. There is a suicide attempt that fails and he carries on.
Nina decides to go on the stage and disappears for two years. Masha realizes she is never going to win Konstantine’s affection, so she marries Mikhail.
The pleasure of watching The Seagull is the unfolding of these tense fragile relationships and the depiction of the anguish they spawn.
All the actors are very special in their respective portrayals, especially Bening, Ronan and Stoll.
There is no physical action in the film, yet there are no dull scenes. It holds our attention all the way.
The Seagull is at Harkins Sedona 6 theater.