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Closing the Ring (2007)

A young man searches for the proper owner of a ring that belonged to a U.S. World War II bomber gunner who crashed in Belfast, Northern Ireland on June 1, 1944.


Peter Woodward

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2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley MacLaine ... Ethel Ann
Christopher Plummer ... Jack
Dylan Roberts ... Wilbur
Gene Dinovi Gene Dinovi ... Weeping Veteran
Neve Campbell ... Marie
Allan Hawco ... Peter Etty
Pete Postlethwaite ... Quinlan
Martin McCann ... Jimmy
Steve Franks Steve Franks ... Bugler
Chris Benson Chris Benson ... Local Sheriff
John Travers John Travers ... Young Quinlan
George Shane George Shane ... Maginty
Kirsty Stuart Kirsty Stuart ... Young Eleanor
Marie Jones Marie Jones ... Mrs. Doyle
Karen Lewis-Attenborough Karen Lewis-Attenborough ... Mrs. Dean (as Karen Lewis)


Three intertwined stories of lost and unspoken love and the resulting secrets are presented. In one, which begins in 1941 Branagan, Michigan, twenty-one year old Ethel Ann socializes primarily with three male friends, who are all in love with her. She only loves one, Teddy Gordon, their mutual love known within the group. Her parents would never approve of Teddy, the poor country boy, who is building a house for her eventually to be able to show her parents that he is worth something in his love for her. Their relationship is interrupted by the US entry into the war, into which all three men are going into battle. Before their departure, the three men enter into a pact unknown to Ethel Ann. In two, which also takes place in Branagan but in 1991, WWII USAF veteran, septuagenarian Chuck Harris, after an illness, has just passed away. Those that knew him always considered him the reliable one. His death leaves a void in his family as there has always been a distance between his wife and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Discover the love of a lifetime


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexuality, nudity and violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Content Film | Official site [Spain] | See more »


UK | Canada | USA



Release Date:

28 December 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A szerelem gyűrűje See more »


Box Office


$23,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Of the twelve films directed by Richard Attenborough, this was the third and final one not based on actual events. The first two were Magic (1978) and A Chorus Line (1985). See more »


The B-17 being shown off in Michigan in 1941 is actually a B-17G, the final model, which did not have its first flight 'til 1943. the "chin gun" is the give-away. See more »


Marie: I'm trying to understand what happened to her.
Jack: The war happened, for Christ's sake.
See more »


Featured in Richard Attenborough: A Life in Film (2014) See more »


The Brooklyn Bounce
Composed by Alan Moorhouse
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User Reviews

Swan Song - a dud
25 January 2010 | by lor_See all my reviews

Great filmmakers usually end their careers on a sour note and this is no exception; barring some inept future use of British lottery money it is unlikely that the knight Sir Richard (nay, call me LORD Richard) will get another 15 million pounds or so to blow again.

Pick your favorite: Henry Hathaway bowed out with SUPER DUDE (a blaxploitation film I had the privilege of viewing in Cleveland on a double bill at the Scrumpy Dump Theater (!) some 35 years ago; Billy Wilder ended with BUDDY BUDDY; William Wyler had THE LIBERATION OF L.B. JONES (on paper a step up from SUPER DUDE, but not by all that much); Frank Capra with POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES which he really hated, per his autobiography; Stanley Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT (hardly up to his high standards); Otto Preminger had THE HUMAN FACTOR, which I (alone?) liked (I've been a rabid Nicol Williamson fan since seeing him at Stratford as one of the greatest Macbeths, opposite Helen Mirren) and which costarred Attenborough. Even Michael Powell, apart from a look-back docu, culminated his career with an innocuous but hardly impressive Children's Film Foundation effort THE BOY WHO TURNED YELLOW, which I watched once at MoMA for completeness. There are obvious exceptions: Joe Mankiewicz bowed out with SLEUTH, an estimable movie and David Lean's A PASSAGE TO India was a winner.

Per the particularly self-serving (and useless) "making of" featurette on the DVD release titled "Love, Loss & Life", CLOSING THE RING is the folly of several producers who fell in love with a first-timer's screenplay based on the actual finding of an old wedding ring in the Irish hills. The flimsy, yet convoluted, script got funding and, per the interviews, bowled over Attenborough, too. How audience members react, limited to video fans in the U.S. where the Weinsteins thought better of wasting money on a theatrical release, is an individual matter, but the tired blood on screen here is frankly an embarrassment.

Some cinematic lions, notably Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer, as well as from a more recent generation Brenda Fricker and Pete Postlethwaite, are matched against some young talent, but the performances are uniformly poor. Having seen all of Attenborough's theatrical releases in first-run I concede he is capable of very good (Gandhi) but when he is bad, he turns out execrable material, notably the insulting A CHORUS LINE adaptation. I enjoyed YOUNG WINSTON, but then again I liked NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA by Schaffner back then too -pageantry is easy to take. But when Richard tried a genre film MAGIC for Joseph E. Levine, after making A BRIDGE TOO FAR for that once-famous showman, mediocrity ruled -about 10 steps below no-budget maestro Lindsay Shonteff's DEVIL DOLL.

Despite the filmmakers' protests of how moving and inspirational this love story hit them, on the screen it is flat and dull. The young cast, led by Mischa Barton, gives paper-thin performances, and the attempt by Attenborough "to be hip" by having Barton nude a couple of times is beneath contempt. That's as old a ploy as THE YELLOW TEDDY BEARS, a well-meaning (and boring) British exploitation film from 1964 for which I saw a vintage U.S. coming attraction just this past weekend (resuscitated by Something Weird Video) in which extraneous nude scenes were added to release it stateside as GUTTER GIRLS. Now I might accuse the Weinsteins of such ploys, but for Richard to stoop that low -wow!

The back and forth plotting from 1941 (actually 1944 it turns out in the narrative later) and 1991 to shoehorn in the Irish Troubles is undigested screen writing of the worst order. Connections between the two are lame and all the "maybe" and suggestive material goes nowhere. For example, strident Neve Campbell (a performance worse even than her terrible effort in the Alan Rudolph dud about sex INTIMATE AFFAIRS) as Shirley's grown up daughter creates wonderment as to "who's her daddy" but it turns out to be strictly a red herring, time-wise. Ditto casting Fricker of all people as the old-age version of a W.W. II "tart" who slept with all the Yanks -this hook is dangled for the viewer and left unresolved. Postlethwaite is perhaps the best performer in this one, but his role is 100% functional, designed for a big "reveal" only.

I've never seen MacLaine so disinterested (and uninteresting) in a movie- she looks like she's playing under protest. The character of a woman who had basically three beaux but wasted her life attached to the dead one is admittedly unplayable but she doesn't even try. Plummer has more energy, perhaps he alone was given Geritol on the set, but this is a thankless assignment as the "good buddy" who never got the girl. The debuting young Irish thesp Martin McCann is insufferably cheery in what turns out to be the lead role, the boy who found "the ring". Closeups and other emphasis on the object make one think we are living in the shadow of Tolkien, but needless to say this totem is of zero importance.

CLOSING THE RING is so bad one is reminded of the late Frank Perry's disastrously soapy MOMMIE DEAREST and MONSIGNOR, for which a wonderful director ended up being the butt of catcalls from Midnight Movie audiences. Unfortunately, its plotting is too dull and execution too mediocre for this lame RING to end up with any such afterlife, avoiding even the pitiful fate of having Hedda Lettuce lead camp followers in weekly derision at my local Chelsea (NY division, not England) cinema.

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