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Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)

 -  Drama  -  13 November 1998 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,572 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 47 critic

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

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(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)

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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 ...
Sophie 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 | motorcycle | spain | See All (138) »

Taglines:

Five sisters embrace the spirit of a people.

Genres:

Drama

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:

$83,759 (USA) (13 November 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Kate 'Kit' Mundy: You work hard at your job, you try to keep the home together but suddenly you realize that cracks are formin' everywhere. It's all about to collapse, Maggie. What I'm most worried about is Rose. If I lose my job, if this house is broken up, what'll become of our Rosie?
See more »

Soundtracks

Yes Sir! That's My Baby
(1925)
Music by Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Revisiting 'Dancing at Lughnasa'
4 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Given the luxury of owning films via DVD collections offers the opportunity to revisit at will the works the viewer found worthy of purchase. Such is the case with the luminous 'Dancing at Lughnasa', a 1998 release by director Pat O'Connor to the tunes of a lilting screenplay by Frank McGuinness based on Brian Friel's 1990 play of the same name. Though low key and not a popular hit at the box office, this is one of those rare films that combines a very simple tale about common folks brought to life by a cast of extraordinary actors.

The story is set in Donnegal, Ireland in 1936 (just before WW II)choked the world) and simply relates the life of a family of five single sisters and the love child of one of them. The action is spare, centering on the visit of their brother home from the missionary work in Uganda inalterably changed from the experience, on the loss of job of the supporting eldest sister, and the return of the errant father of the love child for the summer, and other daily challenges. The stresses and strains these small events play on the sisters is eventually climaxed in the dancing festival that marks the Feast of Lughnasa (a persistent pagan celebration that challenges the very Catholic foundation of the Irish community), a compelling event that parallels the returned priest brother from the mission fields where he has gained insight into the desperate need for community, happiness, dancing and celebration as the essential needs of humankind.

The cast is flawless: Meryl Streep is superb as the elder sister bitterly bound to holding the family together at all costs, Catherine McCormack as the mother of the lovechild, Kathy Burke, Sophie Thompson and Brid Brennan; Michael Gambon as the deranged returned brother; and Rhys Ifans as the errant father of the child. They interact and play like fine chamber music. The brilliantly green and gorgeous countryside is captured eloquently by Kenneth MacMillan. In every aspect of production the film fits like a tightly intertwined puzzle. It simply glows. Revisiting 'Dancing at Lughnasa' is an even finer trip than the first exposure. Highly Recommended.


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