It's 1900, and the mercurial Madame Lyubov (Rampling) returns from Paris with her 16-year-old daughter Anya (Bergen) to the family estate outside Moscow. Yet although the cherry orchard is in full bloom, the debts of the clan are escalating. Lyubov's older brother Gaev (Bates) is utterly ineffectual, more concerned with billiards than the financial crisis. And their land will be auctioned off, unless they take some drastic steps...
Greek director Michael Cacoyannis adapts Anton Chekhov's famous play about the passing of a social order. He attempts to open up the material, but this verbose and visually unimaginative film never escapes its theatrical origins, with its endless monologues and flatly metronomic direction.
And, most annoying of all, the mainly British cast, who speak in a puzzling range of accents, offer up a collection of distinctly uneven performances.