Kevin Kline stars as Errol Flynn, the swashbuckling Hollywood star and notorious ladies man, in this stylish biopic about the actors' final years and high-flying, May-December romance with underage starlet, Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning).
The Last of Robin Hood
Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
In October 1959, when actor Errol Flynn died of a heart attack at the age of fifty (in the Vancouver apartment of Dr. Grant Gould, uncle of pianist Glenn), his reputation as a legendary roué was already entrenched in the mind of a scandal-loving public. When that same public learned that Flynn had died in the arms of a seventeen-year-old starlet named
Beverly Aadland, the frenzied avalanche of publicity was unprecedented. The story of their May-December romance is stylishly captured here in all of its Old Hollywood glory by filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Beverly (Dakota Fanning, also at the Festival in Night Moves) is only fifteen when, she is spotted on a Warner Bros. sound stage by Errol (Kevin Kline). The actor's hugely successful career as a swashbuckling hero is on the wane, derailed by some bad box office and a publicized penchant for underage girls. When Flynn first pursues her, Beverly is hesitant; it is her ambitious mother, Florence (Susan Sarandon), her own dreams of stardom shattered, who encourages the relationship. Given his troubled past with women and the law, Flynn adopts the principle of "hide in plain sight," and enlists Florence as a third wheel, maintaining a facade of propriety. Despite their age difference, Beverly and Errol find themselves to be kindred spirits. He provides her with excitement and freedom from the tyranny of pursuing a career only her mother wants; she offers him true affection as his popularity fades.
Fanning is sweetly genuine as the mature
nymphet, and Sarandon paints a sharp yet
sympathetic portrait of misdirected ambition.
Kevin Kline is superb as Errol Flynn,
charming, immature, generous, and ultimately
afraid; a man who would shield himself with
youth against the looming spectre of death.