'The Daughter,' Ibsen adaptation, won't win over viewers who are new to playwright's work

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Daughter' stars Geoffey Rush as the owner of a now-shuttered local mill who is about to marry his housekeeper (Anna Torv). When his son returns home for the first time in 15 years, family secrets are unloosed.

Courtesy of Mark Rogers/Kino Lorber
Geoffrey Rush (c.), in 'The Daughter.'

The celebrated Australian theater director Simon Stone has transposed his stage adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck” to the screen, with doggedly earnest results. The setting is a logging town in New South Wales, where Henry (a curiously pallid Geoffrey Rush), the owner of the now-shuttered local mill, is about to marry his housekeeper (Anna Torv). Henry’s son, Christian (Paul Schneider), has returned home for the first time in 15 years for the wedding, and in short order, family secrets are unloosed and misery abounds.

As Christian’s college friend Oliver, Ewen Leslie is effective until called upon to caterwaul in the film’s final section. As Oliver’s daughter, Hedvig, Odessa Young has her moments, as does Miranda Otto as his wife, but as any kind of introduction to Ibsen, this film is more a turnoff than a turn-on. Grade: C+ (This movie is not rated.)

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