The story of Margaret’s extraordinarily tumultuous production—shot in 2005 and released, finally and to practically whispered fanfare, in 2011—has unfortunately overshadowed this wholly remarkable film. Nonetheless, Lonergan’s masterwork has been routinely included in best-of-the-21st-century lists and remains a bracing, unpredictable experience. Margaret follows 17-year-old Lisa Cohen’s (an unforgettable Anna Paquin) development at home with her single mom (J. Smith-Cameron) and at school, where she’s too smart and too adult for her own good. But the film turns on a dime when Lisa becomes involved in a horrific accident with a recalcitrant bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) and an ordinary woman (Alison Janney) at its center, the event irreversibly changing all of their lives and the lives of those around them.
Nothing short of a masterwork...one of the best things to happen in the world of movies [in 2011]… Though the release was not wide enough, long enough, or adequately promoted, just getting to see the movie is what matters. — Richard Brody, The New Yorker