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Closing the Ring


Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, Neve Campbell, Mischa Barton, Stephen Amell, Pete Postlethwaite, Martin McCann, Brenda Fricker

Director: Richard Attenborough

OK, this is no masterpiece, but any director still making films as accomplished as this at the age of 83 must be applauded. It even moves us, albeit belatedly and right at the end.

The action is split between 1991 and 50 years earlier. In '91, Ethel Ann (MacLaine) is burying the husband she never really loved. Across the world in Ireland, a boy, Jimmy (McCann) discovers a ring with her name on it at the site of a 1944 air crash.

In '41, the young Ethel (Barton) is loved by three friends, but it's Teddy (Amell) who holds the key to her heart. They're married by a pal who hasn't yet taken holy orders. But Teddy is killed in the war, and Ethel Ann marries one of his friends.

Back in the IRA-torn Ireland of 1991, Quinlan (Postlethwaite) and Jimmy's gran Eleanor (Fricker) both have parts to play in the ensuing drama.

MacLaine struggles against unhappy casting here, but Plummer is as solid as ever as the grown-old third friend and the film, though a bit dull (and naive) in spots, does keep us intrigued to the end. It's lightweight, slightly old-fashioned, but beguilingly-detailed entertainment.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: The Works. Technicolor.
118 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 21 Dec 2007