Irish director Pat O'Connor helmed this adaptation of Brian Friel's 1990 play which won three Tony awards in addition to UK Olivier and Evening Standard awards. Friel's portrait of five Irish sisters takes place in 1936 on a Donegal farm. The unmarried Mundy sisters are barely surviving. Middle-aged schoolteacher Kate (Meryl Streep) is the eldest, overseeing pretty Christina (Catherine McCormack), lively Maggie (Kathy Burke, re-creating her Tony award-winning role), reliable Agnes (Brid Brennan), and Rose (Sophie Thompson), who has a secret affair with a married man. Christina is the mother of eight-year-old Michael (Darrell Johnston), beneficiary of much attention from his four aunts. The story of a turning-point summer is told in retrospect by the adult Michael and begins when the sisters welcome their older brother Jack (Michael Gambon) as he returns home from missionary work in Africa. Michael's father Gerry Evans (Rhys Ifans) makes an unexpected arrival, winning back both Michael and mom before joining the International Brigade to fight Franco in Spain. Kate loses her teaching position, and the sister's income from their handwoven clothing is threatened by the announced opening of a woolens factory. Shown at 1998 fests (Venice, Toronto).
by Bhob Stewart synopsis