In Margaret, Lonergan assembles a titanic analogy between the pain of a nation and one girl’s post-traumatic chaos, arriving at the same gray-shaded ambiguity and uncertainty.
"I remember from a sort of a child-like point of view in a way—I’ve never felt like I’ve completely mastered what it’s like to be a grown up."
To watch Margaret is to spend three hours in the nearly uninterrupted company of a caustic, bright, naive, and passionate 17-year-old girl as she navigates a difficult passage of her life.
Lonergan's project, in both You Can Count on Me and Margaret, is to crystallize the exact moment at which our emotions run aground on the shoals of their expression, made somehow smaller, shabbier, by the very act of admitting them.
"Genius is a word that’s thrown around a lot, but I think whatever it means, if Elaine May is not a brilliant improviser, nobody is. If Elaine May is not a brilliant actress, nobody is. If she’s not a brilliant writer, nobody is. If she’s not a brilliant director, nobody is. So whatever that word means, you can apply it to her in four different categories at least, and probably more."