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December Bride Review

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A young woman, sharing a house with two men, falls pregnant. She refuses to reveal the father, provoking social disapproval and isolation in the turn-of-the-century Irish community where she lives.

★★★★★

With five-star lighting camerman O'Sullivan turned director and ten-star Bruno De Keyzer directing photography, December Bride, set in a remote corner of Northern Ireland, looks ravishingly beautiful in the finest tradition of such Channel 4 productions. Unfortunately, almost everything else about it is just as reminiscent of a made-for-TV project.

Not that the story is without interest: events unfold in a close-knit Presbyterian community where young Sarah (Reeves) and her mother (Bruce) keep house for two farmer brothers (McCann, giving his usual wonderful performance, and Hinds). The girl and the two young men resolutely refuse to attend the church and mother exits, leaving Sarah and the men to a full-blooded ménage à trois with pregnancy the consequence. That these events, spanning some 20 years, happen at the turn of the century gives context to the film's portrait of an independent-minded and rebellious young woman, competently played by Reeves, here making her feature debut.

For all its virtues, December Bride is so hideously predictable, so measured in pace, so laden with mood - wild seas, lowering skies, lingering Celtic looks, dark little houses, simple peasants - that it tends to induce a despairing sense of deja vu from the very start, a grip that never quite loses hold throughout the next xx minutes.