DIFF Film Review – The Last of Robin Hood
The Last of Robin Hood
The Last of Robin Hood is based on legendary Hollywood actor Errol Flynn’s (Kevin Kline) last few years of life and his relationship with actress/dancer Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning). Beverly was fifteen when Errol met her and wooed her into becoming is girlfriend. Errol was in his forties at the time and was married to his third wife. This was quite the controversy which did not reach the tabloid peak until after his death. The third party in all of this was Beverly’s mother, Florence Aadland (Susan Sarandon), a typical stage mom who turns a blind eye to what is going on initially.
The film portrays two sides to Errol and Florence. Errol comes off as a horny old guy who takes advantage of Beverly initially, but at the end comes off as a guy in love with Beverly and means well. Florence is a typical stage mom with probably less morals than most. She puts her daughter in the lime light before she is of age. This puts Beverly in the situation with Errol. Florence believes the relationship is platonic, like a guy who just wants to be well-meaning and friendly to someone trying to climb the film ladder. Later, she is shocked and dismayed to find out their relationship is something more. Was she in denial, turning a blind eye, and not wanting to accept what was happening? Or perhaps she really did not think the relationship had become more than platonic?
The best thing about the film is the performances of Kevin Kline and Susan Sarandon. Both actors are top-notch in their acting field and this film is not a departure from what is expected from both. Kevin Kline sports a fake nose and exudes grandeur to play Errol. Errol is past his prime, being relegated to smaller, less successful films. He will always be associated with sword-fighting and Robin Hood. Kline continues to play him as a larger than life character that has not had a lucky break in a while. Kline speaks loudly and annunciates as one would expect an old Hollywood actor to. Even as he becomes sick, Errol continues to want to please his fans and those around him. Sarandon does not play an evil, abusive mother like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. Florence is more of the stage mom that wants desperately for her daughter to succeed and will overlook laws and restrictions and her own daughter’s wellbeing to make Beverly famous. Sarandon sports glasses, a limp for Florence’s fake leg, and a hairdo right for the era. She plays concerned yet aloof well. In the end, even I was not entirely convinced that Florence was the most terrible mother ever, just not very smart and goal-driven more than others.
Unfortunately, the film fell with Dakota Fanning’s performance of Beverly. Fanning has moved out of her teens and out of the years where she had plum roles in major films. She can no longer get by as playing the cute kid. As Beverly, Fanning has no emotion. She is void of it in almost every scene. The only emotion she truly conveyed to the audience was when she cried. Fanning is far from being a terrible actress, so I am left miffed as to why her performance is so horrible. She really dropped the ball and the film suffers as a whole from it.
The Last of Robin Hood is an okay film depicting a Hollywood true story that not many know about in my generation and those younger than I. Parts of it are entertaining enough and the acting of Kevin Kline and Susan Sarandon is the savior of the film. When your film depends on three actors and one of them fails horribly, the film will undoubtedly suffer in every scene. Dakota Fanning fails miserably as Beverly in a rare misstep in her acting career. I would also lay blame to the directors who did nothing to correct her performance; although, it may be possible that they wanted Fanning to act that way. This is not a blockbuster film, but those interested in the history of one of the Hollywood legends, it is an enjoyable account of Errol Flynn’s last years.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sjwX9Nu_PA&w==560&h=315]