I picked up this movie as a rental the other day, mainly because it was directed by Sir Richard Attenborough, but also because it had Shirley Maclaine and Christopher Plummer in it. I was very pleased with the movie - it is a poignant story that deals with the themes of love, loss, redemption and healing.
The story begins with a memorial for WW II vet, Chuck Norris in a small town in the US. His daughter Marie [Neve Campbell] is grief-stricken but her mother, Chuck's widow Ethel [Shirley Maclaine] seems unmoved and casually smokes outside the funeral hall. She is joined by Chuck's good friend Jack [Christopher Plummer] and we are taken back via flashback to the 1940s when Ethel[Mischa Barton] was a young girl in love with Teddy [Stephen Amell] and whose close friends are Jack [Gregory Smith] and Chuck [David Alpay]. All three men are in love with Ethel, but it's Teddy who wins Ethel's heart. When WW II begins, the boys go off to war, but not before a secret marriage between Ethel and Teddy. When Teddy gets killed in action whilst flying over Belfast,Ireland Ethel is grief-stricken and comforted by Jack and Chuck.
Back in the present, Ethel finds herself reminiscing about the past to herself, but is surly and silent with her daughter Marie who is bewildered by her mother's lack of grieving over Chuck's death. It is only when a young Irish lad Jimmy [Martin McCann] finds the gold wedding ring belonging to Teddy on Black Mountain in Belfast and contacts Ethel, that the past starts to unravel and Ethel finds herself having to confront some hard truths, including some surprising revelations.
The story itself flows well and the plot is cohesive. I did find the sub-plot in the present with the IRA conflict in Northern Ireland [and Jimmy's inadvertent involvement in it] a bit distracting, but it did prove important in tying the loose ends together at the end.
The acting by the leads was very convincing, especially by Maclaine and Plummer as the older Ethel and Jack. The actors playing the younger roles back in the 1940s also did a credible job, especially Mischa Barton as the young Ethel.Martin McCann as young Jimmy was quite adorable in his role as the naive Irish lad with a tendency towards plain speaking. There are nude scenes in this movie [Ethel as played by Mischa] and some violence [bombings and shootings by the IRA and also government agents].
All in all, I found "Closing the Ring" to be a well-acted romance/family drama and would recommend it to fans of the genre.