"A Modern Tale"
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by Nora Ephron
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Meryl Streep as Dolores Sinclair
Ian McKellen as Hugh Windsor
Kevin Kline as Howard Sears
Maggie Smith as Virginia Ackland
Mathew Goode as Brendan Gibbons
Amanda Peet as Caroline Sinclair
Tagline: "Let’s change the classic tale"
Synopsis: Dolores is 55 years old and she has just discovered that she is adopted. His father has confessed the truth few minutes before his death. She can’t deal with it, she is alone, she never has been married and she has no kids and now she hasn’t a real family. Dolores owns a little fantasy bookstore in Tribeca and her biggest interest is to read fantasy books and create imaginary worlds in her mind. She is a frustrated writer because she has no talent and she would like to write an amazing story and share it with her partners in the reading club. She felt happy with her life but her father’s death has made her think about her real life. She hasn’t been in love because she is still looking for her prince but day by day she starts feeling alone and her imagination is not enough to fill the blanks in her life. Dolores stepmother, Caroline, is an important lawyer and she convinced Mr. Sinclair to change his testament, leaving all his patrimony to her and their three little girls, Dolores’ stepsisters.
Dolores’ new discovery provokes her a shock that turns into a chronicle narcolepsy and after being in the hospital, she decides to investigate who is she and where she comes from. She has no clues and she is in an ending way but she starts searching her supposed kingdom. She has to sell most of her most valued books to survive and one of her favourite books, a “Don Quixote” first edition, will become an important item to solve her investigation.
Hugh Windsor is an English art patron and an important collector who pays to Dolores a very important quantity to get the incunabulum book. He wants to know how she gets the book and she, desperate, tells him all her story. Mr. Windsor immediately realizes about the truth between them, father and daughter, but Mr. Windsor prefers not to tell her what he knows and he carry Dolores to England, assuring her that he thinks he knows where her real family is.
Dolores begins a new life in Britain and everything changes and not only in her mind. She falls in love with a young and handsome artist, Brendan Gibbons, who saves her when she has a narcoleptic episode while she was riding a horse, in Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle. She and Brendan lives a torrid May-December romance. She meet Howard, Hugh’s lover, an snob and antipathetic editor who still ignores the truth and who feel jealous about the new girl in town. Dolores needs to know the truth and Hugh finally decides to carry her to see Virginia, his wife. Virginia’s house is full of old fantasy books and Dolores is amazed. Virginia is an old educated woman who has almost lost her vision and Dolores offers to read to her. One day Hugh makes an special gift to Virginia. He gives her the “Don Quixote” first edition and Virginia and Dolores realize about the truth. That was the book she gives to Dolores, her daughter, the last day she saw her.
What the Press would say:
“A Modern Tale” is not the classic comedy. It has a new language, mixing very different genres in one final grateful experience, extracting a big bittersweet smile at the end. It’s a comedy about the drama and it entertains without needing the usual comedy tricks and easy gags. It entertains because of its quality, its characters and the story. The screenplay and its characters go far away from the cliché but they honour the spirit of the best old comedies. It’s a big honour to the fantasy novel too by means of Dolores. She is a prone to fantasizing and an innocent woman but who could have been a novel heroine of one of her fantasy books. Dolores is not a very realistic woman and she hides from the raw reality but she starts changing her mind discovering the evilness, the pain but the romantic love too and, over all, the value of the family.
The film has some melodramatic moments and some hilarious parts, and the spectator identifies with Dolores and her world, her dreams and her vision of life. The end is a very dramatic moment intelligently turn to something epic and amazing into Dolores’ mind. Meryl Streep is, without any doubt, one of the busiest actress in Hollywood and it is a luxury to see her in a comedian character very far from the evilness Miranda from “The Devil Wears Prada”, but with the same magisterial interpretation. The way Dolores is and how she fights her life was the main reason to accept the role.
Ian McKellen is an exceptional partner and he provides a big charisma to his character, getting a big complicity with the observer. Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron make a great team and they know how to make a good comedy, and this is one of the bests.
Laughs, surprises and maybe some tears await from you in this new fairy tale, revisited and adapted to modern times. Pure good entertainment, great interpretations… maybe we are in front a good movie, who knows?
Best Picture (Comedy)
Best Director: Rob Reiner
Best Original Screenplay: Nora Ephron
Best Actress: Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor: Ian McKellen
Best Supporting Actor: Kevin Kline
Best Supporting Actor: Maggie Smith