• Anna Paquin in Margaret

This week the Bleader presents a series of commentaries on Kenneth Lonergan’s drama Margaret (2011), which screens through Thursday at Gene Siskel Film Center.

As Reader movie critic J.R. Jones noted in his review, the original version of Margaret was much longer than the one that reached theaters. Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan was forced to cut the running time down to 149 minutes in order to get it released, and it’s interesting to speculate on what exactly is missing from the tale of Lisa Cohen, a privileged Manhattan teen who goes a little mad after inadvertently causing a bus accident that kills a woman. Jones points, convincingly, to scenes involving Matt Damon as Mr. Aaron, Lisa’s far too understanding math teacher. I tend to think some of the cuts must’ve come out of a subplot involving Lisa’s divorced mom, Joan, and her courtly Colombian boyfriend, Ramon. Guilt and mourning are heavy presences in Margaret, and Joan has good reason to feel both when it comes to Ramon. In effect, he’s her bus accident. And yet the scene in which she addresses the wreck directly seems to have been snipped from the movie.