Brian Moore's novel makes for a depressing experience in Clayton's hands. Everything seems congealed in a time warp, and if the forlorn, shabby-genteel dreams of a Dublin boarding-house conjure up the feeling of '40s Rattigan, the treatment could be a late '50s Room at the Bottom. Judith Hearne's lonely passion is for being loved, and failing that, the hard stuff. Neither of her amulets - a photo of her late aunt and a picture of The Lord - can save her from the bottle, and she regularly loses her piano students and her lodgings. It's a hermetic story in which hope springs eternal despite the treadmill of character, and Maggie Smith calibrates her suffering to a nicety, rising to ferocious anguish before an uncommunicative altar shrine. The landlady's brother, James Madden (Hoskins), returned from the States and full of bull, appears to be a romantic contender, but is only interested in her putative savings. The landlady's lecherous son (McNeice) is grotesque beyond the call of duty. A downer.
Cast and crew