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Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narration by (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:

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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:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 »

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

[first lines]
Narration by: When I cast my mind back to that summer of 1936, different kinds of memories offer themselves to me. We got our first wireless set that summer. Well, a sort of a set, and it obsessed us. We called it Lugh, after the old pagan god of the harvest, and his festival was Lughnasa, a time of music and dance. Then my mother's brother, my uncle Jack came home from Africa for the first time in twenty five years. He was the oldest in the family, and the only boy.
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Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, stills of African tribal dances and of Jack as priest in Africa are shown. See more »


Soundtracks

Down by the Salley Gardens
Poem by William Butler Yeats (as W.B. Yeats) (1889)
Set to music by various composers
Sung a cappella by Sophie Thompson and her sisters (uncredited)
Sung by Dolores Keane during the end credits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This isn't the film of the play I know and love
16 October 2015 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

Whatever qualities are to be found in Pat O'Connor's film version of Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa" they are certainly not the qualities that made the play one of the masterpieces of Irish theater. Indeed, if anything, this screen version is something of a travesty. In adapting the play Frank McGuinness has not only abridged it but has virtually rewritten it, taking out passages that were in the original and inserting scenes and characters that are either pure invention or were only spoken of in the stage version.

On the plus side, it is well-acted. As the Mundy sisters Kathy Burke, Brid Brennan, Sophie Thompson and Catherine McCormack are excellent. Surprisingly, it's Meryl Streep, in the pivotal role of the oldest sister Kate, who lets the side down. It's almost as if Streep was afraid to outshine her co-stars and was holding back; it's one of her least good performances. On the other hand, both Michael Gambon as the returning brother, (a part blown up from what it was in the play), and Rhys Ifans as the man who has impregnated the youngest sister, are fine. The film, too, isn't bad for what it is; what it isn't is a screen version of the Brian Friel play.


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