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Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  13 November 1998 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,679 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 45 critic

Five unmarried sisters make the most of their simple existence in rural Ireland in the 1930s.

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Title: Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)

Dancing at Lughnasa (1998) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator (voice)
...
...
Father Jack Mundy
...
Christina Mundy
...
Maggie Mundy
...
Rose Mundy
Brid Brennan ...
Agnes Mundy
...
Gerry Evans
Darrell Johnston ...
Michael Mundy
...
Danny Bradley
...
Father Carlin
Marie Mullen ...
Vera McLoughlin
Dawn Bradfield ...
Sophia McLoughlin
Peter Gowen ...
Austin Morgan
...
Chemist
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Storyline

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 <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | 1930s | ireland | time | motorcycle | See All (173) »

Taglines:

Five sisters embrace the spirit of a people.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

13 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Dança das Paixões  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£97,077 (UK) (25 September 1998)

Gross:

$2,285,194 (USA) (9 April 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original choices to star were Frances McDormand and Kate Winslet. See more »

Goofs

The radio is one of the first ever made, so it's a tube radio, which would not be able to come on instantly like the later transistor radios; it would have needed a while to warm up before there would be any sound from it. See more »

Quotes

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: [to Maggie] Don't I know his name is Gerry. What have I been calling him? Saint Patrick?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Dancing at Lughnasa: Interviews (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Homes of Donegal
(1955)
Written by Sean McBride
Played on radio and sung by Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Two great scenes, some decent acting, but what's the point?
11 June 2010 | by (advicetothelovelorn.blogspot.com) – See all my reviews

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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