THE LONG DAY CLOSES is a cinematic museum of lower-middle class life in 1950’s Liverpool and drifts along like a languid river. The story revolves around pre-teenaged Bud who lives in a flat with his mother and sisters and deals with common, everyday events, put together in a kind of reverie and lacking any particular dramatic structure. Bud looks out the window, his mother serves tea, his sisters primp, the family goes to Mass, Bud stands outside a movie theatre, he endures a rigid knuckle-rapping schoolteacher, he gets his hair washed, and so forth. Two wrenching scenes portray Bud’s concept of Christianity and show a vindictive, judgmental Christ who deals harshly with His subjects. In one, while Bud recites a prayer in church, he suddenly sees Jesus rear his head and scream Bud’s name with terrifying hostility. The boy startles, then continues his prayer, obviously laboring to satisfy a harsh Accuser. Thus, the film portrays the loss of faith of an entire generation in Europe.
While some of the imagery in the film is arresting, and its music gorgeous, this meditative reverie will test the attention span of all but the most dedicated, card-carrying anglophile. There is no obscenity or sexual innuendo within miles of this film’s inaction, but two brief interludes, both involving daydreams, are jolting.
(C, Ab, V, M) No obscenity, profanity or sexual content; beautiful Christian hymns; startling but brief daydreaming vignettes, one involving the crucifixion of a hostile, accusing Jesus; schoolyard fight. Overall pacing and content of film will be of little interest to children.