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This fascinating adaptation of J.G. Farrell's novel is both a compelling drama and an illuminating examination of Ireland's troubled history. When Major Brendan Archer returns from the trenches of World War I to his fiancée in Ireland, he quickly becomes involved in familial and political turmoil.
The shell-shocked major (played with wounded vulnerability by Ian Charleson) is engaged to Angela Spencer, who lives with her family in the decaying Majestic Hotel. Angela's eccentric father wants to return the hotel to its former glory because he believes that this will somehow subdue the nationalist movement that threatens his privileged position. Meanwhile, changed utterly by his wartime experiences, Major Archer begins to fall for his fiancée's friend Sarah, a passionate nationalist.
The Majestic Hotel and its inhabitants are perfect symbols of crumbling English power, and the central love story brings a personal dimension to the political struggle. Troubles does a wonderful job of retaining the complexity of Farrell's novel, subtly shifting from comedy to tragedy, and the result is a deeply satisfying film. --Simon Leake
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