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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 an early January 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... Written by
Russ W. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The character Mr. Grace does not appear in Joyce's original story. He is an invention of John and Tony Huston's, and was chiefly included so as to permit a reading of the eighth-century Irish poem Donal Og ("Young Donal"). Although it represents a departure from Joyce's text, the poem is nonetheless appropriate to the story's themes: like the song "The Lass of Aughrim" that follows it, "Donal Og" deals with the suffering that love can bring to young women...just as it has for Gretta. See more »
An exquisite film. They just don't make them like this any more! We eavesdrop on an upper middle class family in Dublin in the early part of the 20th century. They are hosting an after Christmas dinner for their friends and relatives. Their table talk is just idle chatter but it is so well written that one is engrossed. Away from the dinner table some fine piano playing helps to create an intimate atmosphere as if one were there as one of the guests. Perhaps a bit too perfect for an amateur player, the odd mistake here and there would have added to the magic of this film. No real story but real entertainment and an object lesson for up and coming film makers.
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