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The Sun the Moon and the Stars

Though the elements take awhile to cohere, there's an easygoing, likable quality to "The Sun the Moon and the Stars," a light character comedy that signals first-time writer-director Geraldine Creed as a name to watch. Neatly cast and relaxedly played, this part rites-of-passage, part divorcee-on-the-move pic is too small to make much theatrical impact but has a bigheartedness that should click with festgoers.

Though the elements take awhile to cohere, there’s an easygoing, likable quality to “The Sun the Moon and the Stars,” a light character comedy that signals first-time writer-director Geraldine Creed as a name to watch. Neatly cast and relaxedly played, this part rites-of-passage, part divorcee-on-the-move pic is too small to make much theatrical impact but has a bigheartedness that should click with festgoers.

Sulky teenager Shelley (Elaine Cassidy) and her know-all younger sister, Dee (Aisling Corcoran), are shared by recently divorced couple Monica (Gina Moxley) and Tom (Vinny Murphy). After being passed over for promotion at her bank, Monica resigns and takes the kids off on summer vacation. Shelley, who wants her parents to get back together, secretly leaves a message for her father to join them as usual.

At the resort, Monica falls in with Abbie (Angie Dickinson), an American marine biologist, who slowly gets the uptight Dubliner to openup. Also trying to get Monica to open up, for different reasons, is the laid-back young Pat (Jason Donovan), caretaker of the holiday chalets. Meanwhile, Shelley, who’s into black magic, starts sticking pins into an effigy of Abbie, who she’s convinced is an evil witch and a bad influence on Mom.

Though the mother (beautifully played in a rainbow of moods by Moxley) emerges as the heart and soul of the picture, the loose storyline gives all characters a chance to register, especially Shelley, the well-meaning but grouchy teen, finely limned by Cassidy as child-going-on-woman.

Donovan, almost unrecognizable under stubble and long locks, is good as Monica’s entree to another life, and Dickinson, playing a character in her early 60s, brings some dignity to an initially out-of-place role. Spicing the whole pie with some terrific comic timing is young Corcoran, as Shelley’s bratty sis.

Editing and dialogue are admirably lean, but pic does take time to work its magic and is basic at some tech levels. Color grading is noticeably poor, with an excess of magenta in many shots.

The Sun the Moon and the Stars

(IRISH)

Production: A Blue Light Prods. production, in association with the Irish Film Board, Radio Telefis Eireann, NDR Hamburg and Irish Screen. (International sales: Blue Light, Dublin.) Produced by Brendan McCarthy. Directed, written by Geraldine Creed, based on her short story.

Crew: Camera (color), Ciaran Tanham; editor, Catherine Creed; music, Noel Eccles; production design, Eleanor Wood; sound, in Dolby; assistant director, Kieran Hennessy; casting, Ros and John Hubbard. Reviewed at Edinburgh Film Festival, Aug. 21, 1996. (Also in Montreal Film Festival.) Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Jason Donovan, Gina Moxley, Angie Dickinson, Vinny Murphy, Elaine Cassidy.

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