Dancing at Lughnasa, a movie adapted from an autobiography, delves into the lives of five women, unmarried sisters living in rural Ireland in the 30s. The youngest sister has given birth to an illegitimate son, and at the beginning of the movie Michael, the little boy, is 8 year old. There's a pagan ritual that the village observes every August, a night when they dance around a fire in honor of the god Lugh, the ancient god of light. But wait? Aren't these villagers good Catholics? It's Ireland, after all. The answer is yes...at least, sort of.
Tensions increase with the arrival of 2 men. One is the only brother in this family, an elderly priest returning from missionary work in Africa, where he apparently slowly lost his mind. The other is Gerry (Rhys Ifans), Michael's long-absent father who's still not about to commit to much of anything. Meryl Streep plays the eldest sister, often a shrew, but always riveting.
It's a good one, augmented with gorgeous music and stunning cinematography of the incomparable Irish countryside.