28 November 2016

Widows' Peak (starring Joan Plowright, Mia Farrow and Natasha Richardson)

I don’t remember why this DVD caught my eye; perhaps, as happens so often, Amazon recommended it to me based on something else I had liked. In any case, I put it on my wishlist and was given it for my birthday in the spring. We decided to watch it last night.

‘Widows’ Peak’ is set in a small Irish town, shortly after the first world war. So many women lost their husbands that this particular neighbourhood has become known as ‘Widows’ Peak’, ruled over the the domineering Mrs Counihan (brilliantly played by Joan Plowright). There are the elite in her circle, and the ordinary people of the town, and they rarely mix.

The one exception to widowhood is Miss O’Hare (Mia Farrow), who comes across as rather outspoken, even angry and it’s a bit of a mystery as to why she is part of the upper crust widows’ circle.

Into the fold arrives Edwina (Natasha Richardson) a young American woman who proceeds to charm almost everyone she meets, including Mrs Counihan’s thirty-something bachelor son Godfrey, who is very much tied to his mother’s apron strings. It’s a bit puzzling as to why Edwina is so taken with him, but no surprise at all that he is very taken with her.

The only person who does not like Edwina is Miss O’Hare who seems to take her in aversion from the start. It all seems rather puzzling, particularly when Edwina tries to offer friendship, only to have it rejected…

I thought the film was going to be a series of cameos of the life of these women, and enjoyed that aspect of it, but I gradually realised that there is also an underlying plot, one which becomes more convoluted towards the end of the film, in a series of unexpected twists and turns.

The scenery is sumptuous, the settings perfect, the acting giving just the right amount of caricature for light-hearted humour. The suspense is built slowly, almost imperceptibly, so that I didn’t quite realise that it was a mystery with a hint of thriller until the climax of the story. I had guessed some parts of the outcome, but not all, and thought it all very clever.

Rated PG, which reflects the lack of major bad language, and the family-friendly nature of the whole film. There are tense moments, and some mild fighting, but nothing to upset or offend anyone. Then again, it's the kind of film that's mostly going to appeal to older adults, and highly unlikely to be of interest to anyone under the age of at least fifteen.


Review by copyright 2016 Sue's DVD Reviews

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