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"The Last of Robin Hood": Errol Flynn Proves Even Celebrity Scandals Were Once Classier 

Tuesday, Sep 2 2014
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Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's film is a Hollywood history lesson which manages to rise somewhat above the level of the average biopic. As both his health and his career are declining, aging swashbuckler Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline) falls in lust with aspiring starlet Beverly Aadland (20-year-old Dakota Fanning, playing 15). Beverly's mother Florence (Susan Sarandon) works the situation to her advantage, letting the relationship proceed while holding the threat of a statutory rape charge over Flynn in order to experience the Hollywood lifestyle she'd always craved, while still looking out for her daughter's best interests ... sort of. As both history and the opening scene of The Last of Robin Hood tell us, Flynn died in 1959 just as the media scandal was inevitably breaking, leaving it to the Aadland women to deal with the fallout. It's probably a sign of the involvement of producers Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, I'm Not There) that the characters are treated sympathetically, particularly Florence. Stage mothers make for easy villains, and heaven knows she makes bad choices, including bragging that she acquired a fake ID for her teenage daughter. But Sarandon finds the character's humanity, and The Last of Robin Hood suggests that in the Hollywood machine, there are no good choices.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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