Frankly, I don't understand how this thing got produced. The film spans the final two years in the short but memorable life of screen legend Errol Flynn. And while the film seems to be merely allegation and conjecture, if we are to believe what is being portrayed, it has to be one of the more nauseating tales from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
In the late 1950s, Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline) was a star whose career was waning. He was, nevertheless, still a notorious Hollywood roué (that may not be an accurate description, but more on that later). When he spots the fresh-faced Beverly Aadlund (Dakota Fanning) on the studio lot one day, he is immediately taken. It is only after he beds the aspiring actress that he learns her true age. She is 15. With the approval of Beverly's stage mother, Flo (Susan Sarandon), the affair continues as Flynn battles addiction, failing health and a failing career.
A couple of things: While the film is peppered with exceptional actors, the casting does the film a huge disservice. Flynn himself was 48 when he met Miss Aadlund; Kline, while charming, is in his late-60s. Likewise, Sarandon, whose character one can only assume was hovering around 40, is 67. Fanning herself is 20, diluting the perversion. Younger sister Elle Fanning may have been a more accurate casting choice. Then, there's the film itself. It's almost as if the screenwriter can't justify the love story he's trying to portray. Is it a tragic love affair between two mismatched hearts, or is it the story of a rapist and his victim who succumbs to the rapacious Hollywood stereotype? As the mother of a 16-year-old girl, I know which one I thought it was trying to be. Regardless, it fails at either attempt. It's a 4.