• Publication date: November 13, 2011

For 50 Years Their Mother Hid a Beautiful but Tragic Past Evening: A Lesson of a Lifetime in One Day

Nina (Toni Collette) and Constance (Natasha Richardson) are mourning the impending death of their mother, Ann (Vanessa Redgrave). As they sit by her bed, she begins to murmur the sentence, "Harris and I killed Buddy" in what the girls assume to be mere delirium.

Nina (Toni Collette) and Constance (Natasha Richardson) are mourning the impending death of their mother, Ann (Vanessa Redgrave). As they sit by her bed, she begins to murmur the sentence, "Harris and I killed Buddy" in what the girls assume to be mere delirium.

Yet as more time passes Ann reveals her past prior to birthing her daughters, and before her handful of failed divorces that both girls unhappily endured. In her youngest years, Ann (then portrayed by Claire Danes) was an aspiring singer hailing from New York City. At a best friend's wedding five decades ago she encountered Harris Arden (Patrick Wilson), a handsome son of a servant who recently earned his medical degree.

At the time Ann had been in a relationship with Buddy Wittenborn (Hugh Dancy), who professed his supposed love for her since his college days. After drinking a bit too much champagne however, Buddy passionately kisses Harris and inadvertently reveals his homosexuality. Ann is crushed, feels misled, and shuns Buddy for the remainder of the night.

That gives her time to become better acquainted with Harris. Immediately both sense a natural chemistry between them, which eventually leads to a sexual encounter that same day. As the two leave the wedding in search of privacy, an inebriated Buddy follows hoping to reconcile with Ann. Instead, he wanders into traffic and is killed by a car. Neither Harris nor Ann know of this until the next day, but both felt partially guilty for its happening.

Nevertheless their relationship endured, even as Buddy and Ann became involved with other people. Eventually their affair had to end, but Ann has never forgotten Harris and lived a regretful and unfulfilled life without him. Constance and Nina are experiencing their own unique hardships that, depending upon their resolution, could lead to a life of happiness or one of misery. Can they learn from their mother's mistakes?

Year: 2007

Duration: 117 minutes

Genre: Drama, Romance

Starring:

Vanessa Redgrave

Claire Danes

Natasha Richardson

Toni Collette

Mamie Gummer

Meryl Streep

Glenn Close

Hugh Dancy

Director: Lajos Koltai

Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, sexual material, a brief accident scene, and explicit language.