Parents' Guide to

Dancing at Lughnasa

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Play-based historical drama has mature themes.

Movie PG 1998 95 minutes
Dancing at Lughnasa Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

There's much to appreciate here -- great performances and a sense of authenticity. Dancing at Lughnasa is based on playwright Brian Friel's own poverty-stricken Irish childhood. The cinematography depicts both a lush and beautiful rural landscape and also the grim unavoidable future of the Mundy family. But this often feels like a long funeral poem, beautiful but hard to witness, and a bit stiff, perhaps the result of turning what must have been a moving play into a presumably far less affecting movie.

Ultimately the viewer will decide whether there is merit in watching the tragedy of narrow-mindedness and bullying by an eldest sister and the terrible effects on a family of siblings who stuck together out of loyalty and lack of other choices. Sterling performances by Meryl Streep, Catherine McCormack, Michael Gambon, and Kathy Burke may not outweigh the unrelenting grimness and predictability. The only surprises here are unexplained ones that don't rise organically out of the material and thus add little to our understanding of these characters. The movie's most glorious moment comes when the radio plays music and the women, downtrodden but still alive in their hearts, begin to dance with a joy their bleak circumstances have nearly killed.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate