Dancing at Lughnasa | Chicago Reader

Dancing at Lughnasa

Five sisters—rather theatrically characterized as the bitter one, the lonely one, the crazy one, the idealistic one, and the pathetic one, though not without some overlap—argue about what's best for their brother, a missionary priest who's been called back to Ireland from Africa for losing touch with reality, mainly when it's convenient. The sisters also argue about what's best for one another and for one sister's son, who's supposedly telling the story in retrospect, though you wouldn't know this without the leaden voice-over. Every bit of action, every line of dialogue in this strikingly contrived 1998 drama, set in 1936, screeches out its meaning so shrilly you can almost hear the filmmakers congratulating themselves for being so efficient. Frank McGuinness's wrote the screenplay, based on a play by Brian Friel; Pat O'Connor directed; with Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, Catherine McCormack, Kathy Burke, Sophie Thompson, and Brid Brennan.

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