Projections - Movie Reviews

Widow's Peak

This film, shot entirely in Ireland, stars Joan Plowright, Mia Farrow, Natasha Richardson, Adrian Dunbar and Jim Broadbent.  "Widow's Peak" is situated atop the picturesque village of Kilshannon and was named as such because the cluster of houses located there are owned by the town's well-to-do widows.  Joan Plowright plays Mrs. Doyle-Counihan, a wealthy, twice married matriarch who, with minimal assistance from her son Godfrey (played by Adrian Dunbar) presides over the inhabitants of widow's peak.  Mia Farrow portrays Miss O'Hare, a poor, middle-aged spinster who, for some unknown reason, has been allowed to live among the widows on the hill.  While Miss O'Hare keeps mainly to herself and tending her prize-winning roses, the other ladies delight in sharing gossip.

When Edwina Broome, a young, glamorous war widow (played by Natasha Richardson) arrives, she effects a number of people, in surprisingly different ways.  The widows find her flamboyant behavior an excellent source of amusement; Godfrey is instantly infatuated and Miss O'Hare takes an instant dislike to her.  As a viewer, I didn't feel as adversely toward her as Miss O'Hare but there was indeed, cause for speculation.

Joan Plowwright is so engaging and funny.  She reminded me of how I was equally amused when I saw her in Enchanted April.  Mia Farrow was excellent and beautiful as Miss O'Hare (does she ever age?), and Jim Broadbent was absolutely charming as her sweetheart, Clancy (you may recognize him from his enchanting role in Enchanted April).  Natasha Richardson was good as the coy Edwina and I was happy to see Adrian Dunbar again since I enjoyed him in Hear My Song.  Although a minor character, Anne Kent was thoroughly entertaining as Edwina's not-so-virtuous maid, Ms. Grubb.

Despite the fine performances by the cast, I found the movie a bit boring.  I just wasn't fully engaged by the story and the ending, although surprising, didn't have a strong effect on me; it was almost an afterthought.

The original screenplay for Widow's Peak was written by award winning Irish playwright Hugh Leonard.  In the early 1980's, Mr. Leonard met Irish-American actress Maureen O'Sullivan at a party in New York.  The two struck an immediate rapport upon learning that they each were born in a small village near Dublin.  When the actress mentioned having never had the opportunity to work together in a film with her daughter, Mia Farrow, the playwright became intrigued with the idea of uniting them.  Ten years later, Widow's Peak has made it to the screen with Mia Farrow playing the role of Miss O'Hare, originally intended for her mother, and Natasha Richardson playing Edwina, the role originally intended for Mia Farrow.

After spending many happy childhood holidays in Ireland with her family, Mia Farrow relished the opportunity to return.  As she said, "Coming to Ireland is just like coming home.  I was born in California, but I don't belong there.  I've been living in New York and I certainly don't belong there. I've lived in England, but I never felt I belonged there.  But the minute I came back here, I understand that this is where my roots are and that these are my people."

Widow's Peak


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