KEVIN KLINE SUSAN SARANDON DAKOTA FANNING
THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD
Older man falling in love with young girl; that story has certainly been told before, but you add in the star status of Errol Flynn and the 15-year-old girl's mother condoning the affair and you have something interesting. The Last of Robin Hood pertains to one of Flynn’s most famous roles and takes a look at the final months of the woman crazy actor. The real highlight of the film isn’t Oscar nominee Kevin Kline (who is significantly older than Flynn, who died at age 50), nor is it Fanning, but rather Sarandon, who must wear two faces. This film isn’t really interested in recreating old Hollywood-like Avatar or exploring Flynn’s career; it’s more appropriately focused on the psychological breakdown of a mother living vicariously through her daughter.
15-year-old Beverly Aadland (Fanning) lost her innocence and her father the day she auditioned for a role in the new Errol Flynn film. “That man is a walking penis,” Herb Aadland said to his wife Florence (Sarandon) before he washed his hands of both the women in his life. Florence saw an opportunity to piggy back off her daughter’s looks, charm and innocence to live the life she would otherwise never have. Her daughter’s virginity was a small price to pay if they both got to live a movie star life. Eventually they are married when she turns 16, Flynn suffers a heart attack and gossip rags go after the Aadlands. “Now the party is over and we have to clean up the mess,” Florence says.
The first encounter with Errol Flynn is portrayed somewhat stereotypically in nature; of course, Kline being 18 years older than Flynn doesn’t help the existing creep factor. An older man taking advantage of a new face in Hollywood, but even though she cries afterwards, Beverly goes back for more because she wants the success, fame and likes having the attention of a man even her mother wishes she could have. The relationship between mother and daughter here is what is so fascinating; far too often we see these stories of mothers pushing their children to live out some twisted fantasy they never got to experience.
Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s script is better for recognizing where the real story is instead of just making this a film about Flynn. Even better than the script is Sarandon’s performance; although billed as supporting, she is the most interesting aspect to the film. It’s told from the mother’s perspective as she dictates a book she is writing about the wild events that happened during 1957 in which the audience realizes she loved Flynn just as much as Beverly did. Sarandon is at her best when she is playing characters that ride the line between good and evil.
Final Thought – Sarandon gives a compelling and fascinating performance.
By: Dustin Chase