THE LONG DAY CLOSES vividly demonstrates the redemptive power of alternative modes of cinematic storytelling, even as it celebrates the glories of classical Hollywood movies.
Without a plot in any conventional sense, or traditionally articulated characters, this resonant slice of British family life in the 50s is infinitely more affecting than most conventional domestic dramas. Ironically, the film achieves some of its most sublime effects while depicting its young
protagonist listening to American pop songs, watching his family taking part in group singalongs at the local pub, and--most importantly--in rapt contemplation of movies. The filmmaker's alter ego is the fey, lonely Bud (Leigh McCormack), an 11-year-old boy whose drab life is immeasurably more
enriched by going to the movies than by attending school or church. Rarely has the mere act of spectatorship been so convincingly rendered as to suggest spiritual transfiguration.
Director Terence Davies effectively evokes the sounds and textures of post-WWII working-class life in England's Liverpool. At times, looking at THE LONG DAY CLOSES feels like leafing through someone else's old family album--indeed, much of the striking imagery has the quality of period
photographs. This is due to an expressive deployment of long and often static takes, shadowy sculptural lighting, and a rich yet muted color scheme that suggests old three-strip Technicolor. Both this film and Davies's 1988 DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES are loosely autobiographical: whereas the
earlier film was a very dark, impressionistic chronicle of Davies' family life in the 40s, before his birth and during his early childhood, the more sanguine follow-up covers the quiet period in the mid-50s when he became a dedicated moviegoer.
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: PG
- Review: THE LONG DAY CLOSES vividly demonstrates the redemptive power of alternative modes of cinematic storytelling, even as it celebrates the glories of classical Hollywood movies. Without a plot in any conventional sense, or traditionally articulated characte… (more)