Picks and Pans Review: Dancing at Lughnasa
Don't go see Dancing at Lughnasa expecting a film version of River-dance. Both may be Irish and feature high kicks, but similarities end there.
Lughnasa is a beautifully delicate doily of a film based on Brian Friel's Tony-winning play. This elegiac period drama, directed by Pat O'Connor (Circle of Friends) and boasting a distinguished cast working in top form, chronicles the falling fortunes of five adult sisters barely surviving on a farm in rural Ireland during the summer of 1936. "The cracks are appearing everywhere," moans Streep, the family breadwinner whose school-teaching job is threatened. In opening up the play to show the bleak lives of the sisters against the backdrop of barren landscapes and the nearest rickety town, the movie makes even more heartbreakingly clear than onstage just how limited are their options. Despite this, the women are still able to grab at moments of joy, including the spontaneous, exhilarat-ingly abandoned dance of the title. (PG)
Bottom Line: Will have Irish eyes, and everyone else's, smiling through the tears