Live by Night
The key question behind Live by Night isn’t so much “Why did they bother?” as “What went wrong?”
"Getting It Right" is a late 1980s version of all those driven, off-center London films like "Darling," "Georgy Girl" and "Morgan" - movies in which a wide-eyed innocent journeys through the jungle of the eccentric, the depraved and the blase, protected only by a good heart and limitless naivete.
The movie tells the story of Gavin Lamb, a hairdresser who shampoos the coiffures and the miseries of his ancient clients and returns home every night to the home of his parents, where his mother serves awesomely inedible dinners promptly at the stroke of 6. Gavin is 31 and still a virgin, and his bedroom is a sanctuary where he keeps his precious collection of recorded music meticulously arranged.
At first we can't get a reading on Gavin. He is pleasant, friendly, a little standoffish. Life doesn't seem to have happened to him yet. The character is played close to the vest by Jesse Birdsall, a young actor who manages to look thoroughly ordinary most of the time and sublimely crafty the rest of the time. It's a performance a little like Dustin Hoffman's in "The Graduate," where society is criticized by the character's very indifference to it.
One day Gavin is taken to a party that seems to be a last-gasp attempt to resurrect Swinging London. It's held in the spectacular penthouse of a garish divorcee (Lynn Redgrave), whose red wig and outlandish costumes look like a conscious attempt to keep people at arm's length. But she likes Gavin, takes pity on him and invites him to a secret inner sanctum in the vast apartment - the only room, apparently, where she feels free to take off her wig and be herself.