Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Actress: Miranda Richardson
Best Supporting Actress: Rosemary Harris
Ironically enough, 2 or 3 years ago this was one of the films I was desperately trying to find, definitely in my top most wanted list. Then I downloaded it from Youtube, saw 20 minutes of it and gave up. I had sensed that it was mostly no good, and I knew there was no rush to it.
Seeing it from beginning to end kind of confirms my intuition. The film IS for the most part a waste of time. It's not really a biopic, we find out almost nothing about the poet or his work, the characters are poorly developed, the direction is shaky and, most importantly, the characters are very dislikeable. I've researched a bit, and Viv seemed to be a fascinating woman, very intelligent, very human, yet the screenplay focused mostly on the crazy side.
Willem Dafoe is awful and creates and annoying leading character, I've never disliked him so much. Miranda is unbearable in the first half, but her last scenes are quite touching, because she finally gets to act normal. The only character I liked and felt emotionally touched by, though not because of the screenplay, was the mother, played in a very dignified way by Rosemary Harris, who does so much with so little. Her nomination really makes me happy, because she's such an amazing subtle actress and that suitcase-packing scene works just because of her acting.
My rating for the film: 4/10. I'm being generous because of Rosemary and because of the asylum scenes. Other than that, one of the most boring films I ever saw.