The Whales Of August

  • 1987
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

It is 1954, and Libby Strong (Bette Davis) and her younger sister Sarah Webber (Lillian Gish) have returned to the small Maine island for the summer, just as they have done for the past 60 years. Libby is now blind and Sarah has cheerfully looked after her for 15 years. As girls they had stood on the cliffs and watched for whales. Now the whales come no...read more

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It is 1954, and Libby Strong (Bette Davis) and her younger sister Sarah Webber (Lillian Gish) have returned to the small Maine island for the summer, just as they have done for the past 60 years. Libby is now blind and Sarah has cheerfully looked after her for 15 years. As girls they had

stood on the cliffs and watched for whales. Now the whales come no more. Sarah still anticipates their appearance and wants to put in a new picture window, but Libby, who has grown bitter and cynical, thinks it would be frivolous and vetoes the idea. Tisha Doughty (Ann Sothern), their lifelong

friend and the island's resident busybody, pays them a visit and tries to persuade Sarah to put Libby in her daughter's care and to move in with her.

With its extraordinary cast, THE WHALES OF AUGUST would have made cinema history even if its script had been taken from a cereal box. In fact, the screenplay, adapted by David Berry from his own largely autobiographical stage play, isn't one of the film's stronger elements. Suffering from

heavy-handed symbolism and offering few real insights, it nonetheless provides the blueprint from which these exceptional actors are able to build their performances. THE WHALES OF AUGUST has more than a few problems, but anyone interested in the art of acting, the history of the cinema, or in

seeing an unpatronizing portrait of elderly characters will find the film rewarding.

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: It is 1954, and Libby Strong (Bette Davis) and her younger sister Sarah Webber (Lillian Gish) have returned to the small Maine island for the summer, just as they have done for the past 60 years. Libby is now blind and Sarah has cheerfully looked after her… (more)

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