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20 Ratings

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

Directed by Jack Clayton
United Kingdom, 1987
Drama, Romance


Maggie Smith stars as self-effacing spinster Judith Hearne in this emotional drama set in 1950s Dublin. Harboring a secret yearning for her boardinghouse neighbor James the modest piano teacher is pleasantly surprised to find her affection returned.

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The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne Directed by Jack Clayton

Awards & Festivals

BAFTA Awards

1989 | Winner: Best Actress

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1987 | 3rd place: Best Actress

Critics reviews

Clayton suffered a stroke, and many of his projects did not come to fruition, but he made a notable return with The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. This 1987 film is slightly more conventional, or less feverish, than his earlier work, though he does make use of an unusual effect: he slightly distorts Maggie Smith’s screaming voice in the enormously painful scene where the alcoholic Irish dreamer she plays, Judith Hearne, physically assaults an altar in a church.
November 02, 2016
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The Dublin settings, more photogenic than the novel’s Belfast, are bleakly beautiful (even if the film’s DVD release is one of the ugliest transfers I’ve ever seen) and the central duo do far more than convince: their problems become, for the duration of the film, more urgent and more compelling than our own.
December 06, 2012
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