Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull centers around impassioned would-be writer Konstantin (Frank Langella, Dracula), who hopes to write plays that will shatter what he sees as the clumsy, artificial constraints of theater. But his self-indulgent mother (Lee Grant, Shampoo), a famed actress, dismisses his efforts. Her lover (Kevin McCarthy, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), a successful novelist, patronizes Konstantin and steals away the young man’s beloved Nina (Blythe Danner, Meet the Parents). Chekhov is above all a poet of love–not the raptures of consummation, but the misery of love unrequited, misdirected, spurned, and abused. His eloquent tales of heartbreak have a phenomenal compassion for the weaknesses and flaws of human beings. This TV movie, based on the 1975 production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, is intelligent and warm, with excellent performances from Langella, Danner, and Grant in particular.
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