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A young boy tells the story of growing up in a fatherless home with his unmarried mother and four spinster aunts in 1930's Ireland. Each of the five women, different from the other in temperament and capability, is the emotional support system, although at times reluctantly, for each other, with the eldest assuming the role of a 'somewhat meddling' overseer. But then into this comes an elderly brother, a priest too senile to perform his clerical functions, who has "come home to die" after a lifetime in Africa; as well, there also arrives the boy's father, riding up on a motorcycle, only to announce that he's on his way to Spain to fight against Franco. Nevertheless, life goes on for the five sisters, although undeniably affected by the presence of the two men, they continue to cope as a close-knit unit... until something happens that disrupts the very fabric of that cohesiveness beyond repair. Written by
BOB STEBBINS <email@example.com>
The play originally opened in Dublin, Ireland in 1990. It opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 11 October 1991 and closed on 25 October 1992 after 436 performances. In the cast were Brid Brennan, who originated her role as Agnes and won 1992 Tony award as Best Featured Actress, and Gerard McSorley as the adult Michael, the narrator in the movie. The play also won a 1992 Tony award as best play. See more »
Kate 'Kit' Mundy:
Does Mr. Evans ever wonder how Christina cloths and feeds Michael? Does he ask her? Does Mr. Evans care? Beasts in fields have more concern for their young than that creature has.
Agnes 'Aggie' Mundy:
Do you ever listen to yourself, Kate? You are such a damned righteous bitch! And his name is Gerry. Gerry. Gerry!
[Storms out of room]
Kate 'Kit' Mundy:
Don't I know his name is Gerry. What have I been calling him? Saint Patrick?
See more »
Two great scenes, some decent acting, but what's the point?
Dancing at Lughnasa (Pat O'Connor, 1996) is an oddly muted drama in which nothing really happens, for an hour and a half. "Progress is a comfortable disease," observed grammar-phobic poet e e cummings. For him, maybe, but for five unmarried sisters in '30s Ireland, it's anything but, as the march of time throws their life together into jeopardy. The spectre of industry and dwindling school rolls are looming, threatening to put teacher Meryl Streep (who is really annoying here, sometimes intentionally) and professional knitters Sophie Thompson and Brid Brennan out of work and break up the family unit. Not that they seem very happy to begin with, bickering and casting light on another's neuroses in a way that becomes quickly wearing very quickly. There's love in the house, for sure, but there's a lot more repression and glumness, much of it uninteresting and trite.
As well as the breadwinners, we meet happy-go-lucky Kathy Burke, fifth sister Catherine McCormack - spending a summer with returning lover Rhys Ifans - a clergyman brother ravaged by dementia (Michael Gambon), and young Darrell Johnston, the story told through his eyes. The film has uniformly good performances, but it's often clichéd and unenlightening, with an opening and closing voice-over that apes How Green Was My Valley and seems to bear little relation to the action in between. On the plus side, occasional moments of insight peek through the overbearing script and there are two really good scenes. One has the family flicking through a photo album and recalling lost love; it's a quiet tour-de-force from Burke. The other, which partly gives the film its title, is simply great, as the sisters begin dancing to a song on the radio, their celebrations growing ever more feverish until they spill out into the yard. It's a moment of sheer wonder amid much muddled misery.
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