Friel Essay

Submitted By johngrant
Words: 9483
Pages: 38

Five unmarried sisters in Ireland, circa 1936. Amid harsh poverty, these Christian women listen to a radio tune and dance with an abandon that rivals a pagan harvest festival. Onstage, in Brian Friel's Tony-winning play, the moment is one of theatrical magic. Director Pat O'Connor's screen version can't match it. The release of tension doesn't feel as powerful in a film that lets us see outside the Mundy sisters' constricted kitchen. Still, a luminous cast reveals long-buried feelings. Meryl Streep finds the expansive soul behind prim schoolteacher Kate. And she is matched by Kathy Burke's bawdy Maggie, Brid Brennan's secretive Agnes, Sophie Thompson's slow-witted Rose and Catherine McCormack's bold Christina, who never married the father of her son. It's the mysterious return of brother Jack (Michael Gambon) from the African missions that spurs a family crisis. The movie is no more than a delicate whisper as each sister reveals her grieving heart, but it's no less extraordinary for that.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/dancing-at-lughnasa-19981113#ixzz1xfv9LSCT unmarried sisters in Ireland, circa 1936. Amid harsh poverty, these Christian women listen to a radio tune and dance with an abandon that rivals a pagan harvest festival. Onstage, in Brian Friel's Tony-winning play, the moment is one of theatrical magic. Director Pat O'Connor's screen version can't match it. The release of tension doesn't feel as powerful in a film that lets us see outside the Mundy sisters' constricted kitchen. Still, a luminous cast reveals long-buried feelings. Meryl Streep finds the expansive soul behind prim schoolteacher Kate. And she is matched by Kathy Burke's bawdy Maggie, Brid Brennan's secretive Agnes, Sophie Thompson's slow-witted Rose and Catherine McCormack's bold Christina, who never married the father of her son. It's the mysterious return of brother Jack (Michael Gambon) from the African missions that spurs a family crisis. The movie is no more than a delicate whisper as each sister reveals her grieving heart, but it's no less extraordinary

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/dancing-at-lughnasa-19981113#ixzz1xfvpw8cr
Emma, I think listening to this and taking notes would be a good help www.ucd.ie/news/2009/01JAN09/230109_friel.html

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I went to 'Dancing At Lughnasa' (pronounced 'Lou-na-sa') because being Irish I was familiar with the Brian Friel play of the same name which debuted several years ago. Going in to the movie I expected a good movie but what I witnessed was a truly excellent movie which really affected me. The movie really painted a very rich and poignant portrayal of the dynamics of an Irish family during the 1930's.

The movie is centered on the life of five unmarried sisters living together in County Donegal, Ireland(County in North West Irish Republic about 150 miles north west of Dublin). The sisters live on the bread line surviving mainly on Kate's School Teacher Salary.

Meryl Streep was truly amazing in the lead role of eldest sister Kate. Kate the very strong willed school teacher and family leader was brought to life perfectly by Meryl. Often times the thing that annoys me about films about Ireland is that American actors are just not believable in the roles, but in Dancing At Lughnasa, Streep embodied the Irish Spinster of the 1930's to perfection.

The sisters brother who is a priest returns to them after years away as a missionary in Africa. The family is forced to deal with a brother who has changed much during their separation and it brings extra strain to a family that is already only barely holding together.

Just watching the family interaction is incredible, watching the complex relationships so wonderfully acted is extremely touching. Tough social issues of the time are tackled in the film such as Christina and her illegitimate son, their brother's mental deterioration, and of course my favorite; simple minded Rose. Rose who is mildly…