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It's 1963 in rural Massachusetts, and Nora James has the usual worries of an eleven year-old girl:lipstick, first crushes, staying out of trouble at school...not easy when your teacher is the elderly Sister Concilia. And even harder when your parents are struggling to heal from an almost unbearable loss. Then tragedy strikes another Massachusetts family, the Kennedys, and shatters the fragile bonds holding the James family together, Nora, sent to live with her brittle Aunt Rose, soon learns who she is, what she wants, and what she must do to achieve it. She makes a decision that is both cruel and courageous. Nora's choice unlocks the way to what amounts to the rescue of her family. Written by
Maureen Foley, writer/director of the film
A lovely film, featuring marvelous performances by Ross, Kalember, Delate and young Castellarin as the heroine. With humor and tenderness, "Home Before Dark" shows the struggles of a family living in the shadow of personal and national tragedy. Has a great period look (pre-Beatles/hippie 1960s...check out the aunt's Danish moderne furniture and pastel party food). I loved the Catholic school details, too...uniforms, furtive sixth-grade flirting, the strict nun who turns out to have a heart of gold. Those things were all recreated just the way I remember them. The writing and directing is sharp, and the music's great too, especially in the scene where the girl's alone in her mother's room. Seek this one out, it's a gem!
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