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  September 9th, 2012       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

This Sunday’s spotlight is “Dancing at Lughnasa”, the 1998 Irish drama based on the Tony-winning play. New DVD screencaptures have been added to the image library and three new clips can be found in the video archive, alongside a very interesting making of, in case you haven’t seen it yet. Production notes and review after the cut. As always, please share your thoughts on “Dancing at Lughnasa” in the comments.

Production Notes

The play originally opened in Dublin, Ireland in 1990. It opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 11 October 1991 and closed on 25 October 1992 after 436 performances. In the cast were Brid Brennan, who originated her role as Agnes and won 1992 Tony award as best actress, and Gerard McSorley as the adult Michael, the narrator in the movie. The play also won a 1992 Tony award as best play.

Kate’s sadness com from all her lost chances and also that at a certain age her life is over. At least when she has her teaching job she has she self-esteem. And when that’s taken away she has nothing. And to be an unmarried woman without a child, not a widow even. Just a nothing, she’s a nothing in the world. A burden. Like in those Native American tribes when old people decide they’ve taken enough food from the group, they walk off. “After Yale, I did play after play after play. I loved it! And then I stopped – all on behalf on my children who don’t appreciate my sacrifice AT ALL! (laughing) ‘Eeuuuwww, theater, why would you want to do that? It’s boring!’ I really miss it… So that was the main thing. To begin circling the theater, to see if I could fit my large, overly important self into an ensemble again in the way that everybody does seamlessly in the theater. And they were amazing to me, forgiving and welcoming. (Meryl Streep, Harper’s Bazaar, January 1999)

Frederik’s Review

“Dancing at Lughnasa” is one of the films I would have probably never seen if it wasn’t for Meryl. I’m sure it has also been her involvement that helped financing the film, giving her another opportunity after “Plenty” to play a character from a play on the big screen. The reason that the film remains little seen is probably because of it’s story – four spinster sisters in rural Ireland, coping with poverty and unfulfilled dreams isn’t you basic mainstream material. But while currently rewatching the film, I was pleasently surprised how well it’s transformed to the screen. This film belongs to its actors, it’s great to see Meryl playing opposite a great actor like Michael Gambon. Sophie Thompson, who’s Emma Thompson’s younger sister, is equally good as Rose. And Kathy Burke and Rhys Ifans, who made their mark as comedians, are doing a great job as well. Meryl’s character is the most unsymphatetic of the film, and the saddest, because with all her harshness she’s trying to keep her family together. Being the oldest sister, she has become the family’s mother. “Dancing at Lughnasa” is recommended to all who like a small and nicely acted ensemble drama, featuring beautiful cinematography of the Irish landscape.




  • Tena

    I’ve had the DVD of this film for the last 2 years and I haven’t watched it yet…….shocking for me!!
    But I just like knowing that there is a little bit of Meryl that I haven’t seen!
    Just like a hoarder; I’m saving it for a long drought between projects…….maybe I’ll watch it next spring or summer since it’s gonna be such a long time before we get to see August: Osage County.
    Meryl really needs to step it up….. we need more movies!!

  • Sonja

    I’d might never seen this movie if Meryl was not in it, so I’m glad she was.
    I liked it a lot. Not a “big” movie, but all in all a nice little irish drama.
    Meryl has the antipathic role as the oldest sister, being very demanding and tries to guide but also protect her family. Really not an easy part in a time when industrial revolution keeps going on and two of her sisters and then herself losing their jobs. And the second World War lurks…
    Like being said, not a big movie in terms of awards or whatever, but definitely worth watching. Of course especially for the dance scene. ;)

  • monica

    I agree , at certain point with Frederick´s review, that Meryl was kind of the bait to see Dancing of Lunghasa, at my experience, I was doing sapping and I catch this film in which I saw Meryl, so I shouted to my daughter, which is a hugh Meryl´s fan: Isabel: look who´s on TV, something dancing at lu.., and she thank me and she continue watching the movie but I´m not a movie fan

  • Marc

    Definitely one of my favourite Meryl movies! It wasn’t a big hit in the theatres (I don’t even know if it made the theatres in my city). I bought a VHS copy. Such great performances by all the cast. I loved Meryl’s character, and the second glance she gave to someone in the village, while on her bicycle, was priceless! :)) Once again, Meryl nailed another accent! A definite must-see.

  • isabel

    I love this movie, I just saw it again and definitely it has more art that I remember, It´s Art cinema, it has so much poetry I´ve gotta say that the scene that I like the most was when The five sister began to hear and feel the music in her bones when the radio was fixed by Gerry and they began, in a very shy way, looking between them, perhaps asking for permition to start dancing that beatiful dance which is Irish tap dancing, and when they decide and start to dance, they start to glow and move graceful and happily, and you could see it but even if she was the least eager to do it, Kate raises herself from the chair and starts to dance with all her heart and soul possesed by the rhythm

  • isabel

    Dancing at Lunghnasa is one of the many movies I was looking foward to comment because is a very special one, since is a play is different that all your accusstomed to see, Meryl´s character, Kate who´s is the eldest of the five sisters and the saddest is also the strongest, the most interesting to me, the one who does the job of keeping the other one´s safe, as she thinks they are, she didn´t sees them as adults as they already are, that´s why they called her mother, but really is only trying to do what she believes or was told to believe to keep everybody protected, at her cost

  • A

    I absolutely love this movie.It is one of my very favorites.In the interviews for this movie, she said that it is like a poem and I agree completely.