Watching Evening reminds me of eating a piece of elaborate wedding cake. What is it about wedding cake? Maybe it’s a metaphor for weddings themselves – the attention to detail, pomp and circumstance, being impressive. After all that, you can hardly expect anyone to remember, or care about, the actual taste; a triumph of style over substance.

Evening offers up the same pleasure principle. The movie, shot by Gyula Pados, is gorgeous to look at but fairly thrums with good taste.

The setting, Newport, serene and elegant, offers the perfect imaginary nostalgic vacation of a recent past filled with sand, sea, cocktails and red lipstick. And the actresses cover all the bases from Meryl Streep, Natasha Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave to Claire Danes, Glenn Close and Toni Collette.

We are even introduced to the potential “next big thing,” with the impressible distinction of being the offspring of Ms. Streep: Mamie Gummer. The packaging is scrumptious.

Unfortunately, the film never manages to do much besides skim the surface. We never really pierce the exteriors of these beautiful people and their secrets. What could be intriguing just becomes boring.

Maybe director Lajos Koltai was too dazzled to do much besides gape at the women and count his blessings. I suppose it would be hard not to, this movie has Oscar pretensions written all over it.

Grade: C

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