Blog Directory CineVerse: The pluck of the Irish

The pluck of the Irish

Thursday, March 2, 2017

It could easily be mistaken for an episode of "Masterpiece Theater" or "PBS Mystery." But "Widow's Peak," a largely overlooked little comedy/drama from the UK that premiered in theaters back in 1994, is certainly more substantial than a made-for-TV standalone period piece. Among the observations our CineVerse group made on this film were the following:

HOW WOULD THIS FILM HAVE BEEN A SURPRISE OR UNEXPECTED TREAT TO 1994 AUDIENCES WHEN IT WAS RELEASED?
It features Mia Farrow in her first role following her separation from Woody Allen; moviegoers were not used to seeing her in a non-Allen film; in fact, this was her first appearance in a movie not directed by Allen since 1984.
Interestingly, Mia’s mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, was originally intended to play the part of Miss O’Hare – which went to her daughter.
The film tries to balance carefully between a murder mystery and comedy while also tapping into uniquely Irish and British sensibilities. This results in a mixed stew of varying tonalities that perhaps keeps the viewer intrigued and curious as to how things will develop.
To Americans watching this back in 1994, or today for that matter, the dialects and dialogue – especially how speech is contrasted among the different widows – is central to the film’s power and allure. Roger Ebert wrote: “It uses understated humor and fluent, witty speech; it’s a delight to listen to, as it gradually reveals how eccentric these apparently respectable people really are... Widow’s Peak is more about sharp-edge humor and barbed tongues and women who maintain a fa├žade of perfect respectability while getting up to all sorts of mischief.”
This picture arguably puts more emphasis on colorful and interesting characters than a crunchy plot; it helps that there is a strong ensemble cast that includes instantly familiar British actors like Joan Plowright, Natasha Richardson, and Jim Broadbent.

THEMES OR MESSAGES SUGGESTED IN THIS FILM:
The dangers and repercussions of keeping secrets
Appearances can be deceiving, and things are not always as they seem
The damage caused by scandal and hearsay
Class warfare
The weight and baggage of reputations

OTHER FILMS AND TELEVISION SHOWS THAT REMIND US OF WIDOW’S PEAK:
Enchanted April
Hear My Song
Waking Devine
The Snapper
The Remains of the Day
Howards End

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