The close relationship between two young brothers is ruptured by a beautiful young woman in this handsome but underplotted film, funded by the Eurimage Fund of the Council of Europe.
Brothers Patrick (Ian Shaw) and Dominic (Ruaidhri Conroy) have lived alone in the west country of Ireland since the loss of their father (who died) and mother (who dealt with her grief by running off to Africa to study a lost tribe). Although Patrick had to drop out of school to support his young
brother, the two live happily. Their Aunt Dorothy (Kate Flynn) pays a visit, bringing with her Anya (Julia Brendler), a German girl working on her horse ranch for the summer. Dominic develops a crush on Anya, who in turn is smitten with Patrick, and she moves in with the two brothers. Patrick and
Dominic's mother (Marianne Faithfull) returns. Anya admits that she loves Patrick but must leave soon for Dublin, where she will be going to university. Patrick asks her to marry him and she agrees, but on the day of the wedding backs out, saying it is too fast. Blaming his mother for turning Anya
against him, Patrick decides to go with her to Dublin; Dominic comes as well.
The three are given an apartment over a bar owned by Murphy (Brendan Grace), who is dating a friend of Anya's; he also gets Patrick a sales job. While Patrick spends his days at work, Dominic and Anya grow closer. When Patrick catches on, his drunken accusations cause Anya to try to seduce
Dominic, who turns her down rather than hurt his brother. Though underage, Dominic gets a job on a ship bound for Africa, while Anya returns to Germany. Advised by his mother, Dominic makes up with his brother before boarding ship.
For at least its first half, MOONDANCE looks splendid, as one presumes any film set in the Irish countryside inevitably must. It's also a delight to listen to, scored mostly by Irish-tinged adaptations of songs by Van Morrison (one of which gives the film its otherwise meaningless title). But a
far as story goes, it can only be assumed that a lot of novel on which this was based was trimmed by the scripters. Everything about it is vague, and the characters are so underdeveloped that its impossible to get any feel for the passion we're supposed to be witnessing. (If the film is supposed
to be about youth mistaking infatuation and glandular reaction for true love, it fails to make that clear as well.) A subplot about a pet dog the two brothers hope to turn into a racer adds little to the film, while a "comic" scene featuring nasty stereotypes of both Catholics and homosexuals is
particularly ill-advised. MOONDANCE is recommended only to Eirephiles in serious need of a fix. (Nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: The close relationship between two young brothers is ruptured by a beautiful young woman in this handsome but underplotted film, funded by the Eurimage Fund of the Council of Europe. Brothers Patrick (Ian Shaw) and Dominic (Ruaidhri Conroy) have lived alo… (more)