Movie Review: FILM STARS DON'T DIE IN LIVERPOOL

The great, underrated Annette Benning stars in FILM STARS DON'T DIE IN LIVERPOOL, a new film based on the true story of the last years of Gloria Grahame, who played Hollywood femme fatales in the 1940's and 50's. Benning is completely believable as that fading Hollywood actress in this film which is the touching and bittersweet story of a love affair she experienced with a British man almost 30 years younger than she was.

Gloria: So if I make you a drink, will you come into my room and hustle with me? I need a partner for my dance class.

Peter: I mean if you fix me a drink, I'll come in and clean your bathroom.

By 1979, former Oscar winner Gloria Grahame was pushing 60 and doing theater in places like Liverpool, England where she meets young Peter Turner, an  aspiring actor himself who doesn't know anything about her.

Dancing leads to an affair and a deeper connection than either expects.

Jamie Bell, who came to fame as a teenage ballet dancer in BILLY ELLIOT back in the year 2000 is strong and sensitive as the young man, and Benning is both charismatic and vulnerable as the much older former movie star.

Gloria: Tell me how I look.

Peter: You look beautiful.

Peter: Has anyone ever told you you look like Lauren Bacall when you smoke?

Gloria: Humphrey Bogart, and I didn't like it then either.

The two do have their problems.

Peter: You didn't have any auditions today. Did you? I called your agent.

Gloria: You called my agent? Oh, Jesus. So what am I? Busted now?

Peter: Is it someone else?

Gloria: Wow! Would you believe me if I said no?..Would you?

(Peter shakes his head "no.")

Gloria: Then No.

The movie very creatively cuts back and forth between 1979 and 1981 when Gloria is seriously ill with cancer and returns to Liverpool, hoping Peter and his parents will take care of her.

Peter's Mother: Gloria, luv.

Peter's Dad: We never expected to have Gloria Grahame in our kitchen.

Peter to Gloria: You should go to a  hospital where they can treat you.

Gloria: NO!

The chemistry between these two very different lovers is always evident and their connection is painfully real.

Movies about relationships don't come any stronger than this.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.           thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com