Synopsis by Michael Betzold
Adapted from a stage play by Sharman McDonald, this film marks the directorial debut of British character actor Alan Rickman. Set against a bleak winter landscape of rural Scotland, the story centers around the recently widowed Frances (Emma Thompson) and a visit from her mother, Elspeth (Phyllida Law, Thompson's real-life mother). Elspeth seeks to console Frances, but Frances resists. The mother and daughter have a prickly relationship. While they thrust and parry emotionally, Frances' son Alex (Gary Hollywood) longs for the tomboy Nita (Arlene Cockburn). Two young boys, Tom (Sean Biggerstaff) and Sam (Douglas Murphy), are in the neighborhood looking for adventure. Two older women, Chloe (Sandra Voe) and Lily (Sheila Reed), go to funerals of strangers. The epidosic film eventually ties together all these characters in a surprising way, but the core of the drama is the evolution of the difficult mother-daughter relationship.
daughter, mother, parent/child-relationship, Scotland, son, widow/widower