Another rites of passage film. I swear it makes yourself
ask why film production companies don't grow up. This
time we're all expected to transfer our minds and emotions
to the Ireland of 1957. If you're old, it's romantic; if
you're Irish, it's nostalgic; if you're young, you
couldn't care less.
Irish director Pat O' Connor manages to pack in some
effective performances despite Andrew Davies' well
written, but weak script. Although why the man who
directed Cal has decided to give us this not-very-deep
analysis of a set of outdated youth problems under the
guise of memorabilia confounds me. O' Connor himself
says, "Circle of Friends gave me a chance to show
parallels. It tells a universal story -- it could be set
in any small town in the world with the same small town
mentality." I'll venture to go one further: it should
probably remain in small town cinemas.
This is a love story and a chronicle of friendship between
three women based upon the novel by Irish authoress Maeve
Binchy (who has penned such other works as A Penny Candle
and Firefly Lake). The performances of Minnie Driver,
Geraldine O' Rawe, and Saffron Burrows are all adequate.
Colin Firth, as usual, is flawless, although his
appearance is a cameo. Alan Cumming never ceases to amaze
me and I can only imagine what future holds for this
multi-faceted actor ("Oh, dearie me!"). And who had the
bright idea of sticking Chris O' Donnell (the boy from
Winnetaka) smack dab in the middle of this film (a
decision that smells suspiciously of box office appeal)?
He's a nice actor and visually appealing, but
unfortunately has a brogue that travels in and out of use
for the duration of the film (whether or not he stems
from some branch of Irish ancestry). Nevertheless, he
also turns in a fine performance. So, when all is said
and done, it's not so much the meat on the table, it's
more a question of the meal itself. I'd rather spend the
afternoon shopping on Grafton Street or lunching (if you
know what I mean) at the Stag's Head than sitting in the
cinema watching this one.
© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett