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Two grieving women - Ria, a Dublin mom whose husband discloses he's in love with a woman already pregnant, and Marilyn, a Connecticut Yankee whose son has died - swap houses for a couple months. Marilyn finds solace in Ria's garden and becomes friends with Colm, a local with a restaurant and his own demons. Ria gets a job cooking, has a date or two, and gradually comes out of her shell. Meanwhile, Ria's husband Danny has problems, economic and personal, that may bring more ruin to those close to him. The house on Tara Road comes to stand for the past, for possibilities, and for what can be lost. Written by
Maeve Binchy, author of the novel on which the movie is based, makes an uncredited cameo as a restaurant patron. She can be glimpsed seated at the end of the bar, right after the scene where Ria offers to take the job advertised at the restaurant cashier's counter. See more »
The US scenes taking place in New England include bare mesas (bluffs) in the background. The South African filming location reveals itself. See more »
Two women on two different parts of the world, and both dealing with crises in their lives, decide to take a breather from the situations they are facing, and swap houses. Thus, Marilyn, an American woman who is grieving after the tragic death of her son, goes to Dublin, to the Tara Road house of Ria, who gets the Connecticut house of the Yankee woman. This premise, which is the basis of Maeve Binchy's novel, seems to be almost the same plot of the recent film "The Vacation" in which a similar situation takes place.
Unfortunately, the material written for the screen, doesn't add anything new. In fact, this is a film full of stereotypes on both sides of the Atlantic. Not having read the original work, one can't really say what went wrong, but based on the thin screen play of the movie, one loses all kind of interest in what is presented. Director Gillies McKinnon has done better movies before. Alas, this one will not add anything to his CV.
The best thing in "Tara Road" is Olivia Williams, an fine young actress who seems to be above and beyond what she is being asked to do. Andie MacDowell casts a gloomy aura in her portrayal of Marilyn. Fine actors are completely wasted, as is the case with Brenda Fricker, Stephen Rea, the young and beautiful Sarah Bolger, who we admired for her work in "In America".
As soap operas go, this film will, no doubt, appeal to a certain type of movie goer. Thankfully we didn't have to pay for it since it was shown on cable, recently.
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