Widows’ Peak

When it comes to Irish grudge matches, it’s conceivable there hasn’t been so much comic bluster and roustabout blarney in a film since John Ford’s The Quiet Man. The differences between this film and that, however, are as instructive as the similarities. The setting is an Irish lakeside village in the mid-20s; the antagonists this time are women, with Mia Farrow as an old-timer (and only nonwidow in the ruling oligarchy) who develops an immediate hostility to an American newcomer (the John Wayne part) played by Natasha Richardson, with Joan Plowright essaying a rough equivalent of Barry Fitzgerald. Adrian Dunbar and Jim Broadbent are among the costars, and everyone does a swell job. Scriptwriter Hugh Leonard has more than a few tricks up his sleeve, and John Irvin’s beautiful direction honors them all while doing everything you might hope with the location. There’s a lovely old-fashioned score by Carl Davis as well. See this. PG, 102 min. (JR)

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