Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s biopic of actor Errol Flynn, The Last of Robin Hood, screened at the Toronto Film Festival this past weekend. Kevin Kline stars as Flynn, an actor from the Golden Age of Hollywood now past his prime and having an affair with the 15 year old Beverley Aadland, played by Dakota Fanning. Susan Sarandon also appears as Aadland’s fame-seeking mother, Florence.
The title comes from one of Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling epics, The Adventures of Robin Hood. The real life Flynn was frequently cast as the leading man in such films, though by the time of The Last of Robin Hood, years of partying and relationships have taken their toll on him. Two years after Flynn’s death, Florence Aadland wrote a book about his affair with Beverley titled The Big Love. The book served as the inspiration for Glatzer and Westmoreland to interview the recently deceased Beverley and then make this film.
Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter was very complimentary of the script as well as Kline, Fanning, and Sarandon in the key roles, but felt that the direction and visual style held the whole enterprise back. McCarthy states, “the film is virtually entirely lacking in visual dynamics or force … the surroundings are invariably pristine and never look lived-in.” ScreenDaily’s Tim Grierson saw it somewhat differently, his main critique being that while the actors do decently in their assigned roles, nether they nor the script bothers to dig more than skin deep. “The Last Of Robin Hood never really digs into the couple’s romance to explain its inner workings. Though Flynn and Beverly swear they love one another, we don’t see enough on screen to understand their compatibility beyond an obvious physical attraction.” In either case, the end result seems to be the same: an interesting story that is flashy at times, but fails to deliver a memorable experience.
See what audiences and critics are saying about more festival premiers here.