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Laurens C. Postma
Amidst a haze of cigarette smoke and uneaten food, the family of Enda Doyle gathers in Dublin for his wake. A university librarian, poet and rascal, he has left behind a trail of unresolved issues, a dysfunctional family, and a disturbing mystery. Enda's dazed widow, Moya, anxiously prepares for the next day's funeral with her still stuck-at-home, twenty-something daughter Medbh lending a loving hand. Moya's desperation to keep her family together and Medbh's sharp tongue provide the backdrop for the arrival of headstrong older sister Catherine from New York with her handsome but awkward boyfriend Tom in tow. They doubt that London-based Johnny, the angry black sheep brother of the family, will even appear at all. Sorting through boxes of Enda's books, the women discover a cache of self-recorded video diaries that might shed light on who Enda Doyle really was and some of the secrets that he was never able to share with them. At the funeral, the daughters see a distraught young woman ... Written by
Saw this yesterday at AFI and came away disappointed in this screen adaptation of Dublin playwright Joseph O'Connor's play. There is some good casting, particularly with Malcolm McDowell and Max Beasley - they look like they could be father and son. However, I never felt much chemistry between Malcolm McDowell (Enda) and Olivia Tracy (Moya), and she seemed to be too youthful to be his wife!
This ensemble piece frequently felt like seven characters acting in their own version of this play, with many soliloquies rather than engaging dialogue. The writers burdened their actors with trying to bring life to these 2-dimensional characters. Dialogue or scenes often didn't ring true - like when Enda does his impression of Elvis or when Moya can't explain to her daughter what more there is to marriage.
Scenes were long and empty, almost as if trying to stretch out the limited substance. Character development was shallow and fell short on insight. I don't feel I got the emotional payoff in the end for some of the more intense scenes - instead it felt manipulative. Technically, there were continuity and questionable editing issues, which weakened the movie.
Bottom line - it didn't have a consistent ring of authenticity about it!
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