Widows' Peak (1994)

Genres - Comedy, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Whodunit  |   Release Date - May 13, 1994 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , Ireland , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

The mounting conflict between Mia Farrow and Natasha Richardson in Widows' Peak makes for a fun poke at the usual stuffy-shirted mentality of period pieces, and it puts the viewer in the position of rooting for different characters at different junctures depending on the latest salvo fired in the battle. The payoff, moreover, is well worth the wait. Widows' Peak is a welcome installation in the wave of quirky British comedies that swept the cinema in the 1990s, with funny performances by both leads, as well as the men in their lives and the matriarch who oversees the roost (Joan Plowright). The underhanded tactics used by both women to gain favor in the community are at odds with the level of propriety practiced by most of the townspeople, making for a freshness that mostly keeps the narrative from dragging. The "loose lips sink ships" theory is also at work, as an equally gauche gossip-monger helps propel the events of the plot, as well as making hypocrites out of those who listen. In both story and execution, the film snubs its nose at snobbery. A minor film to be sure, Widows' Peak should please both the Masterpiece Theatre crowd and those who enjoy more ribald flights of fancy like Waking Ned Devine.