The 1992 conclusion of Terence Davies’s second autobiographical trilogy may not achieve the sublime heights of parts one and two (which comprised 1988’s Distant Voices, Still Lives), but it’s still a powerful film, possibly even a great one—the sort of work that can renew one’s faith in movies. Part three chronicles his life in working-class Liverpool between the ages of 7 and 11, a period he compresses into the years 1955 and 1956, but Davies focuses less on plot or memory as they’re usually understood than on the memory of emotions and subjective consciousness. Music, lighting, elaborate camera movements, and the sound tracks of other films are among the tools he uses in relation to the basic settings of home, street, school, church, pub, and movie theater. Davies emphasizes the continuities and discontinuities between these places and the emotions they evoke, creating a consistent sense of religious illumination and transfiguration. What he does with the strains of “Tammy” in one climactic sequence and with the drift of moving clouds in another are alone worth the price of admission.
The Long Day Closes
PG • 1 hour 25 min • 2013