Dancing at Lughnasa

Director: Pat O'Connor

Brian Friel’s enormously popular play about life in 1930s Ireland, the winner of a host of awards when first produced, is here transformed by director Pat O’Connor into a richly textured feature film. At its heart is a family of five sisters – headed up by schoolteacher Kate (Meryl Streep) – struggling to maintain a household that includes unmarried mother Christina (Catherina McCormack) and her son Michael (Darrell Johnston). Their battle to stave off destitution, however, is radically changed by the appearance of two extraordinary individuals: their brother Father Jack (Michael Gambon), returned from a mission in Africa, and Gerry (Rhys Ifans), the father of Christina’s child. Both men offer the sisters different challenges and prospects, with hard choices to be made as money and opportunities dwindle away in this finely-performed portrayal of women searching for vitality amidst stifling conditions.  

Best Actor in a Female Role (Bríd Brennan) at the Irish Film and Television Awards 1999

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