Dancing at Lughnasa [Import]
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a very quiet and slow-paced film. It succeeds in capturing the lifestyle, character, and beauty of the Irish countryside, when all that mattered was your family and church. There is very little action - a motor cycle ride, listening to the radio, and on one special night, dancing in the yard - but that makes the film even more poignant. Based on an autobiographical play, Dancing at Lughnasa is a raw, no-frills look back in time, with an art-house-film feel. Fans of Meryl Streep will enjoy her fine performance as the strict and melancholy eldest sister. Michael Gambon gives a sympathetic performance as the confused priest who has come home to die.
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.
About the only redeeming characters are the brother Priest, who has managed to let his addled head be converted to the great heart-of-Africa primitivistic traditions (with the great scripting from the play which allow his missionary stories to parallel their Celtic neighbours' Lugan festival fires burning on the nearby ridges at night). What a great story line to let his fumbling spirit be drawn to the only time and place when he could actually rescue his simple sister. This is the great moment. I only wish the film had been able to convert what seemed to be the other dozens of latent moments waiting to sail off into my memory of the story. Alas, it was not to be.
I am now hoping the play runs again somewhere so I can catch it. I would love to see somebody else take a shot at making this one work on the big screen....it's just there, waiting patiently for a young director to re-discover it 20 years from now and make the great film that is really in there!
The tale told in DANCING AT LUGHNASA is magical and realistic and sad and could be interpreted as "anti-Catholic" by some, but perhaps it isn't anti-catholic as much as its inclusive of other points of view. The five Mundy sisters, their son and nephew, and priest brother returned from missionary work in Africa, as well as Christina's errant lover (father of Michael) live life on the edge. Yet inspite of their poverty, want and worry, they all find love and beauty this one magical summer when Michael's father comes for a short visit before departing to fight the church in Franco's Spain, and the Mundy brother (Michael Gambon) returns from Africa--where the natives have converted him to their religion instead of vice versa.
It's coming up on August, the month of Lugh the old Celtic God of Light. The "pagans" light bonfires on the hills to celebrate Lugh. The Mundy brother speaks of the rising of the White Goddess into heaven.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I saw the play and wanted to see the movie. Watched it with 5 friends and all loved it. I recommend it highly.Published on Jan. 1 2013 by JeanKennedy
God, what a disappointment! I am a huge fan of both Meryl Streep and Michael Gambon, and I know Brian Friel has written some wonderful plays and screenplays -- so I couldn't... Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by jeffsdate
To those unacquainted with Brian Friel's wonderful stage play of the same name, this might be a mediocre, possibly even enjoyable film. Read morePublished on March 8 2001
The story of the Mundy family of five sisters, a mentally disoriented brother, and a growing up boy would have been mundane and sleepy if poorly directed and mediocrelly... Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2001 by BVT
I really looked forward to the arrival of my copy of this video. Yes, I actually bought it! Only because it's impossible to find at video rental stores. Read morePublished on July 25 2000 by MAT