First Hit: Interesting and somewhat provocative, yet it didn’t really probe the controversial aspects of Errol’s behavior.
Kevin Kline was a great pick for the Errol Flynn character. He’s got the subtle charm, sly smile, and eye sparkle that would make him a great ladies man which Errol was known to be.
This film begins at the end of Errol’s career. He’s gazing out of the window of a studio’s office and sees Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning) walking to a set. He sends his emissary over to find her and invite her to his office. She is 15 years old but passing for 18 and he’s over 50.
His charm has her going to dinner with him and then to his home where he pushes himself on and in her. Afterward, Beverly ignores Errol but he is persistent, tracks her down, and convinces her that he really cares for her. In the background, Beverly’s mother Florence (Susan Sarandon) is pushing her daughter to be a movie star and seems to allow or ignore risking her daughter’s reputation and safety for fame.
To give an air of proper propriety, Errol devises a plan for Florence and Beverly to go with him everywhere, but it’s when they go to New York that Florence faces the intimate relationship Beverly and Errol are having. The rest of the film is more about what happens to them as a twosome and threesome. Errol’s has been burning the candle at both ends and this lifestyle brings about his early demise.
The 1950’s was very well represented in both clothing and outdoor scenes in LA and NYC. The automobiles were beautiful and seeing the John Wayne movie marquee was great. What this film was missing was more about Errol’s previous issues which were only talked about and delved into once with a stern talk between Errol and his lawyer.
Kline was really good as Errol and it was a pleasure to watch him be in this character. I think the script let him down. Fanning was incredible, she was able to be the various ages her character was pretending to be allowing her experience to give her the air of being much older than she was. Sarandon was wonderful as the mother choosing blinders when she needed them, yet opportunistic as all get out. Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland both wrote and directed this film. It lacked some of deeper more controversial aspects of Errol’s behavior but what it did was bring light to the man who has long since passed.
Overall: I admired Fanning’s portrayal of Beverley and liked Kline’s version of Flynn.