30 December 2018 | Red-125
Coming of age in 1950's Ireland
The Country Girls (1983 TV Movie) was directed by Desmond Davis. The screenplay was by Edna O'Brien, who wrote the novel on which the film is based.
This coming-of-age movie stars Maeve Germaine as Kate, and Jill Doyle is her best friend Baba. They both live in rural western Ireland. Kate's mother is loving, but depressed and abused by her drunkard husband. Baba's father is a physician, and is kind to both girls.
What makes the story interesting is that the young women are very different in temperament and abilities. Kate is intelligent and sensitive; Baba is less intelligent and less sensitive. She's more rebellious and defiant.
It would have been easy to film this as a good girl/bad girl drama, but that's not how O'Brien wrote it. The good girl, Kate, is in love with a married man.
(He's called Mr. Gentleman, and is portrayed by Sam Neill.) That's the situation in which we'd assume Baba would be. However, it's Kate. It's a very creative touch.
The remainder of the plot follows the young women from home, to convent school, to Dublin. We learn about Irish society--as seen by O'Brien--at each step along the way.
For example, the convent school is run like a strict convent, designed to produce unhappiness. (The students aren't training to be nuns. They're just in high school, but they're treated like novice nuns.) No one questions this--that's just the way it was. Baba compares it to a prison camp, and I could see her point. Examples like that allow you to receive the bonus of an insight into a culture in a specific place at a specific time.
We saw this movie on the small screen. It was made for TV, so the small screen isn't a disadvantage. It's not a great movie, but it's a very good movie, and definitely worth seeing.