No big drama. No overblown action. Just a beautifully-filmed little movie that tells a simple story against a background of Irish political upheaval. Rebecca Pidgeon plays a sheltered, shabby-genteel girl just turning eighteen, who still has a bit of the outward appearance and behavior of a child. Orphaned young but raised by a loving aunt, grandfather, and housekeeper, she knows her mother is well and truly dead but has doubts about her father and tries to place him among the men she casually observes around town. When a man of suitable age appears on the beach near her rural home, she takes great interest--especially as his secretive nature offers few clues to his identity. Anthony Hopkins, eternally superb, plays the multi-layered character of the "tramp," and the relationship that develops between the two is the heart of the film. Look also for fine performances by Jean Simmons and Hugh Grant, as well as a host of familiar faces in small roles, and take the time to appreciate the lovely wind-whipped seaside locale and green inland vistas. A movie like this relies on character and scenery--The Dawning is a treasury of both.