By Melissa Pierson
Updated September 22, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

The northern Ireland of December Bride is a place of steely mists and lonely vistas, and we watch its sober characters as if from a great distance. Its story and its sense of morality resemble The Scarlet Letter: At the turn of the century, a servant girl (the lovely, intense Saskia Reeves) chooses not one but both of the brothers for whom she works, though not without some dark looks and fisticuffs passing between the two. The resulting progeny suffer the consequences of having three parents who are willing to face the hypocrisy of clergy and villagers. This is not a film of smiles and sunshine, but it is one that repays the attention of an equally sober home viewer. B+