Pic started off with a hitch when originally cast star Annette Bening dropped out on the eve of production. Replacement Robin Wright (Mrs Sean Penn) was a felicitous choice, in her best film acting to date. Story by Shane Connaughton, who co-scripted My Left Foot, concerns an Irish lass (Wright) in 1957 who’s shamed by her fellow townsfolk for being an unwed mother.
A new love enters her life with the arrival of Milo O’Shea’s troupe of traveling actors, The Playboys. Newest thesp in the company (Aidan Quinn) immediately impresses Wright and eventually beds her. Fly in the ointment is the local constable (Albert Finney) who has always been in love with Wright and explodes into violence.
This familiar pattern of headstrong girl and passions brimming beneath the surface is well directed by first time Scottish helmer Gillies MacKinnon, though the pace slows in middle reels as plot gives way to the troupe’s enjoyable stage performances.