August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Dancing at Lughnasa

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
94 minutes
Limited Release Date
11/13/98
performer
Kathy Burke, Michael Gambon, Meryl Streep, Catherine McCormack, Gerard McSorley
director
Pat O'Connor
distributor
Sony Pictures Entertainment
genre
Comedy, Drama

STARRING Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, Rhys Ifans, Brid Brennan, Sophie Thompson, Kathy Burke

DIRECTED BY Pat O’Connor

Meryl Streep doing an accent? Who knew? The dialectically adept thespian plays a prim schoolteacher in the film adaptation of Brian Friel’s 1991 Tony award-winning play, which follows five lonely sisters living a hardscrabble life in rural Ireland. The women’s world is shaken by the appearance of their brother (Gambon), a priest who left for an African mission a conquering hero but returns a broken man. Says O’Connor, ”It’s about integrity, courage, decency, and how these things sometimes aren’t enough for survival.” Streep, who calls Lughnasa ”a tiny story with epic reverberations,” took Irish dancing lessons for a month to prepare for the scene in which the sisters enjoy a cathartic dance session. ”I’d taken this quite seriously,” she says. ”Then I found out the others just watched Riverdance.” (Nov. 13)

THE LOWDOWN The play’s stellar reputation combined with Streep’s star power should make Lughnasa an art-house achiever.

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