Set in county cork ireland in 1920 the drama unfolds at danielstown the home of anglo-irish aristocrats sir richard naylor and his wife lady myra. As the war for irish independence escalates around them sir richards 19-yea... more »r-old niece losi struggles with her longings for love & freedom. Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 02/06/2007 Starring: Maggie Smith Jane Birkin Run time: 104 minutes Rating: R Director: Deborah Warner« less
Kathleen O. (Kathleen) from WALDPORT, OR Reviewed on 5/12/2009...
I really liked this movie. I wasn't sure if I would. The acting by Gambon, Keely Hawks and Maggie Smith were superb. It was a nice surprise if somewhat disturbing in parts -- dealing with the anti-English feelings toward the Irish (and I am very Irish-American).
Searching for Love
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 03/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This story is based on Elizabeth Bowen's cleverly crafted novel in which a young woman comes of age in a brutal time. It is a story about seeking love in all the wrong places. Love is not a simple affair. It is a complex journey, filled with many decisions along the way.
As Lois (Keeley Hawes) and Army Captain Gerald (David Tennant) dance through a forest there is an unmistaken sense of innocence clouded by a forboding evil clinging to each step. The deeper they go into the forest, the more aware you become that a ghost-like melancholy seems to consume Lois. She is amused by Gerald, but has a penchant for rebels. Even in her innocence, she longs for excitement and the impossible situation.
You are consciously aware of the intricacies in the lives of the characters and become less concerned with the plot. Laurence (Jonathan Slinger) seems content to amuse himself observing the blossoming yet mild romance between Lois and Gerald.
There are scenes of spinning on a swing, playing tennis out on the grass, frivolous parties and while life seems to go on like Renoir's painting: "The Gust of Wind." The undercurrent is more of a ominous gale. Most of the characters seem unaware of even the slightest political gust. They fill their lives with walks in nature and evenings spent gazing at the stars on a luxurious estate.
Lois wants to be in love and she seeks love where she feels she can find it. Although, she seems to be playing with fire when she discovers Peter Connolly (Gary Lydon) hiding in the old mill house. He is an IRA fugitive wanted for the murder of an English Army officer. Lois sneaks out on her bike to see him, all the while realizing she is putting her life in danger.
This is not the end of the world as predicted, but perhaps the end of a romance. It is however, a tragic romance with artistic moments to die for. The seemingly insignificant raindrops splashing into a glass of lemonade has a much deeper meaning. The joyfulness of a romantic existence is contrast sharply with the deviousness of destiny.
~The Rebecca Review"
An emotional clash between the Irish, Anglo-Irish &British
Lucinda Williams | Alaska USA | 03/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a very moving movie showing how the Irish, and the British and how families like uncle Richard and aunt Myra (Maggie Smith) Anglo Irish buisness people who no longer support the British yet fear the Irish rebels are caught in between a confict. Fiona Shaw does an wonderful job playing the part of a vamp, Marta who is to marry a wealthy English business man but enjoys fooling around and tempting Hughie who is regreatfuly married to a much older woman while they are staying at Richard and Myra's house. In the mean time Lois ( Uncle Richard's niece) is playfuly leading on a very attractive young British officer and yet sneaking to meet the young Irish rebel and allowing herself to be seduced by him. The British Officer wishes to marry her but Aunt Myra (Maggie Smith does a really good job playing a polite snob) slams the poor officer with the fact that he is not of money and that it would be impossible to marry Lois, yet uncle Richard, who really hates the British, is encouraging the young officer to continue in his relationship with Lois. This is a movie that anyone who enjoys the English movie format, should see."
"There are occasions when it is better to be ignorant."
Mary Whipple | New England | 05/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Atmospheric and beautifully photographed, The Last September, based on the 1929 novel by Elizabeth Bowen, takes place in Cork in 1920, at the beginning of the Irish Rebellion. Lord Richard Naylor (Michael Gambon) and his wife Myra (Maggie Smith), are the Anglo-Irish owners of a large estate which Richard's family has owned for generations. Richard's niece, Lois Farquar, age nineteen, lives with them, a bored young woman without goals, impatient to fall in love. With a stream of visitors coming to the estate, a British army unit is garrisoned nearby for protection, and the soldiers welcome the opportunity to participate in the aristocrats' garden parties and tennis matches.
Closing their eyes to the eventualities, the Naylors adhere to the idea that "It would be a great pity to have a war. There's been enough unpleasantness already." Gradually the "unpleasantness" draws closer, involving Lois, some of her childhood friends from the Irish community, and a British soldier who is courting her.
Slawomir Idziak's cinematography in this 1999 film creates a lush picture of the countryside and a mood of palpable tension. His close-ups of characters whose emotions are reflected in their faces, rather than by their words, emphasize the lack of communication between Irish and landlord, while whirling dancers and tennis players emphasize their deliberate naivete and frantic activity. Filming between cracks in a wall and through a spyglass and peekholes in the floor, Idziak's scenes are both revelatory and visually intriguing.
The film, directed by Deborah Warner, lacks warmth and a central focus, however. Though Lois (Keeley Hawes) is the main character, she is lost in the peripheral action and subplots involving aristocratic houseguests, a pallid lover, and a group of rebels whose activities are not always clear. The screenplay, written by novelist John Banville, never famous for natural dialogue, features remote characters who exclude the viewer from their thoughts.
Michael Gambon, as Sir Richard conveys some awareness of what is happening, but he seems incompatible with Myra (Maggie Smith), who plays her usual aristocratic role with panache. David Tennant, as Gerald Colthurst, Lois's suitor, so much resembles a deer in the headlights that is it difficult to imagine him either as an army captain or as Lois's suitor, while Gary Lydon, as the Irish rebel to whom Lois is supposedly attracted, is portrayed as a violent criminal with few redeeming qualities.
Those familiar with Bowen's novel will enjoy seeing rural Cork through Idziak's stunning photography. Those unfamiliar with the period, however, may have difficulty figuring out what is going on and why. (3.5 stars) Mary Whipple "
This is the end, my beautiful friend, this is the end, my on
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 02/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a bit of a gem really if you are familiar with the British class system and have a modicum of knowledge of the struggles engulfing Britain around the turn of the twentieth century. In the film, the concern is primarily for the struggle for Irish independence but there are unspoken undertones of the struggles of women.
At first blush this is Doctor Who meets Harry Potter as the main players come on the scene. Seriously though, it is hard towatch this for a while given the proximity of the stars of the movie similar to that of the Potter movies. A bit of a distraction.
Maggie Smith has made this sort of role her own and in this I am strongly reminded of her portrayal in Private Function, a film which has many parallels here.
It is easy to mistake the setting for rural England, which to me is a deliberate perspective of the Director. There is a powerful impetus to assume that the central charcters are, in fact, English, but as the plot unfolds, the underlying sypathies are exposed as an identity, and a greater connection to the historical roots.
Of course, the romance involving an English officer (and thus gentleman) in direct contrast to the Fenian freedom fighter (Irish gentry) is very symbolic. The traditional roles are inverted and twisted but eventually, the officer is killed by his republican rival metaphorically representing the separation of the two lands and the division of the heart of the object of their affection.
The problem is, appreciation of the full scope of the film is limited to those who have read the book and who have a different perception of the story and those who have some rudimentary knowledge of history, politics and class. That is not to say that the regular viewer is left completely in the dark, but merely, that the richness of colour and tone is lost to that person.
For that reason I can only countenance four stars."
Well Done But Some May Find Slow Moving
carol irvin | United States | 11/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"How well you like this movie will probably depend on how wryly you can view the central group at risk in the film: the prosperous people of English descent, born in Ireland or whose children were born in Ireland circa 1916. I liked the contrast between these English-Irish and the real Irish locals. The central action takes place at one of these English-Irish estates in Ireland, where the privileged inhabitants carry on as usual while Ireland erupts in violence over British rule. The IRA takes fervent action in their region, while these people play lawn tennis, plot marriages and cut flowers. However, a young woman, the niece of the estate owner, becomes involved with both a British soldier and an IRA activist, which brings the two worlds somewhat together. Ultimately, wherever the British move, whether it be Ireland, Africa or India, it is amazing how little they are assimilated into the local culture of those regions. They might as well be in London or Yorkshire and it is only by watching the terrain and the locals that you know that they are not in England. It gradually becomes clear that there will be no place in post WWI Ireland for these people of English descent to fit in any longer. They will be forced to move on. For most of them, this means moving to Canada where they will not be as prosperous or privileged. While this is a good film, it is also much like a drawing room period piece and thus moves rather slowly. Some viewers may find it sluggish but that is also the point of the film. The people at risk are too slow moving as well for the dark events which overtake them and force them out of Ireland. There are also some good DVD interview extras on this disc."