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John Huston's last film is a labor of love at several levels: an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English-language literature by one of Huston's favorite authors, James Joyce; a love letter to the land of his ancestors and the country where his children grew up; and the chance to work with his screenwriter son Tony and his actress daughter Anjelica. The film is delicate and unhurried, detailing a Christmas dinner at the house of two spinster musician sisters and their niece in turn-of-the-century Ireland, attended by friends and family. Among the visiting attendees are the sisters' nephew Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta. The evening's reminiscences bring up melancholy memories for Gretta concerning her first, long-lost love when she was a girl in rural Galway. Her recounting of this tragic love to Gabriel brings him to an epiphany: he learns the difference between mere existence and living. The all-Irish cast and careful period detail give the piece richness and ... Written by
Russ W. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A wonderful look at Dublin in the "The Rare Auld Times"
The entire movie, an artful adaptation of one of Joyce's "Dubliners" stories, takes place on the night of January 6 (Epiphany), 1906. Most of the film takes place at an annual party given by three spinsters (two sisters and their niece), where a group of upper-class Dubliners gather for an evening of music, recitations and dinner. While there is very little plot per se, the interaction and conversation among the group reveals much about Dublin in the early 20th century when the stirrings for independence were just beginning. The cast, all talented Irish stage actors with the exception of Anjelica Huston, are universally wonderful, and one actually feels he is a guest at the gathering himself. The poignant final scene, between Ms. Huston and the amazing Donal McCann, reveals much about the marriage of the characters. There is poignancy mixed with humor and insight, and for those who like quiet, thoughtful movies, "The Dead" is highly recommended. My wife is from Dublin, we make a ritual of watching this wonderful movie every January 6th. After many viewings it never fails to move me, and each time I glean something that I've missed before.
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