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The Commitments
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Commitments More at IMDbPro »

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43 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

How hope can elevate the hopeless

Author: The Enemy from Pittsburgh, PA
27 March 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must confess that this is my favorite movie of all time, and the music plays a large part of why I enjoy it so much. Don't expect stellar acting in this movie unless you want to be let down--though make no mistake, the acting is certainly adequate. The key players in this movie were not chosen for their acting abilities, but rather for their musical talent. The people you see on stage in the movie are the same people who play the music you hear. (If you appreciate soul music, do not pass up the chance to purchase The Commitments Vol. I and Vol. II.) And what a talented assembly of musicians they brought together for this movie. Most astonishing is the lead vocals of prodigy Andrew Strong (playing lead singer Deco Cuffe) whom, at 16 years old at the time of filming, possesses "a voice that Bob Geldof would starve for." More than anything, this film is about hope. It is about the hopes and dreams of a handful of poor north side Dubliners striving to beat the odds and make something of themselves. The film follows the near-rise and eventual fall of a band that, on the verge of a record deal, could not bear to watch success interfere with their destiny to remain destitute. But was destitution their destiny after all? "Success of the band was irrelevant," the main protagonist and band manager is told moments after the band breaks up. "You raised their expectations of life--you lifted their horizons!" And indeed, the epilogue reveals that, even though the band itself was a failure, virtually every band member had achieved a greater level of personal achievement than they had hoped for before they had joined the band. This is a movie about the raw appeal of soul music; it is a movie about Dubliners; it is a movie about the economic conditions in general that grip Ireland; it is a movie about poor folks who endlessly toil in the vain hope that they can make ends meet. But more than anything, it is a movie about how hope alone can be the ultimate salvation of of those who have nothing else to look forward to.

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42 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Funny, heartbreaking and true

10/10
Author: madam_Q from Perth, Australia
6 July 2004

Who needs expensive movie stars when a group of unknowns can light up the screen like this lot?

On paper, it sounds like a failure - a cast comprising almost entirely of untrained and untested performers, set in working class Dublin, based on the novella by Roddy Doyle. By God, does it defy expectations.

Jimmy Rabbitte is a working class Dublin lad who's been collecting unemployment benefits for two years. But he dreams of bigger things, namely making it big in the music industry. He sets out to form a soul band, and assembles a motley crew of musicians and singers, most of whom don't know each other and many of whom can't stand each other.

The look of the film is gritty and realistic - nothing is glossed over. North Dublin is presented in all it's glory. The home lives of the band members are depicted warts and all - their private lives set the scene for the inevitable personality clashes that are almost as explosive as the music. In the mix is the unique character of the Irish people - at one point Jimmy enters a tenement block and, as he waits for the lift, looks over to see a boy with a horse. "You aren't taking that in the lift, are you?" he asks. "I have to," the boy replies. "The stairs would kill him."

The real star of the show is the music - this film spawned two hugely successful soundtrack albums. The band members were cast partly due to their musical ability, and the results are superlative. The stand out is Andrew Strong as Deco - would you believe this kid was only 16 when the film was made? His amazing voice belies his tender years, and suggests that he's been smoking a packet a day since the age of about four. At the end of the day with is a fine ensemble piece, much like the band. The acting may be a little wonky at times, but the hysterical dialogue makes up for that.

Most remarkably, this is a feel good film that does not rely on any of the conventional feel good plot devices. There are no group hugs, no plot conveniences, no trite happy endings. Just a shrewdly observed and wittily captured human story about people who dream of making it out of their dreary world. And isn't that something we can all relate to?

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52 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

"You raised their expectations of life, you lifted their horizons!"

10/10
Author: Marty Munjak (mmmyv@q.com) from Tucson, Az
12 March 2004

My one line summary consists of the most profound statement in the movie. "Jimmy "The Lips" Fagin telling "Brother Rabbitte" what he has achieved, when Jimmy thinks he has achieved "Nuttin'".That being said, I am overjoyed at the amount of people giving their wonderful comments about my favorite movie of all time.I can't tell you all the people I've turned on to this movie. I remember I didn't see the movie when it first came out, then they came out with some god-awful TV series kinda based on the movie (Americanized, of course),which,thank god, met a quick & merciful death. I bought the VHS version, then the Laserdisc version, then the DVD, and am now awaiting the 2 disc special DVD, just released, to come in the mail.I have watched this film countless times & never get tired of it. I've even pretty much deciphered the dialogue(try reading the book sometime,if you think the movie is hard to understand!)One of my most prized possessions is a "Commitments" Promotional kit consisting of a "Making of" tape and a booklet about the movie in a photo-illustrated 6x15 box that I bought from a long-closed video store about 10 yrs ago. I also found the ellusive "Commitments Vol.2" CD in a "cut-out" bin about the same time.Anyway,I love the movie, and the whole premise of taking a bunch of unknown,talented, singers & musicians,with pretty much no hope of rising above their surroundings individually,and put them together to form "The Hardest Working Band in Show Business".To me, the highlight & peak of the band(and movie) was when they played "Try a Little Tenderness". It still gives me goosebumps & brings a mist to my eyes,whenever I see it.I'm still in love with Natalie & Imelda!! And Deco(Andrew Strong) only being 16yrs old!!I always hoped there would be a "Part 2", but as Joey said to Jimmy(after the band broke up) "The success of the band was irrelevent.You raised their expectations of life, you lifted their horizons. Sure, we could have been successful, & made albums & stuff, but that would have been predictable. This way...it's poetry". What a wonderful philosophy. That whole scene will never leave my mind.

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38 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

A movie made with the Soul!

Author: Luigi Delgado González from Guadalajara, Jalisco, MEXICO
3 February 1999

The first time I saw "The Commitments" I got surprised because it doesn't seem to be a Hollywood-like movie (talking about money) but it's a great example of good script and great performance of the actors/singers. When you see the movie, it seems to be a real-life-documentary.

The music is great! And the best of all is that some of The Commitments' members really play and sing... I recommend to buy the soundtrack (Vols. 1 & 2) if you really are a fan of soul-music. You're gonna love it!

Really... it's one of the best movies that I've seen! It's a movie made with the Soul!

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28 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Funny how the Irish dig Motown...

Author: Adrianne from Detroit, MI
20 May 1999

I've lived in Detroit all my life, and the great soul music of the 1960's and 70's which was created here (and is still enjoyed here) is featured throughout "The Commitments." The Irish lads and lasses really do up the soul staples, from "Try a Little Tenderness" to "Mustang Sally." The actual musical talent is reinforced by the strong character development, industrial setting (North Dublin), and masterful plot, adapted from the novel of the same name by Roddy Doyle. "Say it once, say it loud...I'm black and I'm proud," is never more irreverently humorous than when questionably repeated by Jimmy Rabbite's soul disciples. I own this film, and I could watch it over and over. The soundtrack is excellent, and the pop culture references throughout the movie are hilarious (especially during the audition scene.) This film delighted both the hard-core Detroiter in me, as well as the Irish lass. The working class Irish youth depicted in the movie are sincere, and so is their project, The Commitments. (All the great bands were a "The ...")

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30 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Excellent story about the rise and fall of Irish "saviors of soul".

8/10
Author: Jason C. Atwood from Suffolk, Virginia
2 February 1999

Alan Parker's brilliant directing effort on THE COMMITMENTS really shines. More than an entertaining spectacle, it has a whole lot of influence on the soul music circuit. Shots of Dublin city life are nicely photographed. The musical acts are extremely well talented and well done, if only the occasional dialogue breaks didn't interrupt the awesome sound. There could've been some more new tunes instead of old ones, but it's amazing to discover the fictional band's lead singer pull them off out of his lungs. Phenomenal! At least you can try to find the soundtrack album. One thing stands out the best: the casting. We need more of today's movies to do the same thing: to provide creative acting talents. The musical genre of modern Hollywood needed something like this to keep it afloat. Highly recommended!

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant!

10/10
Author: sev127 from United Kingdom
17 May 2005

I first heard of the Commitments when I heard someone playing the soundtrack on their car radio. I quickly bought myself a copy and played it about 10 times a day - the music and the singing were unlike anything I'd ever heard before, even though all the songs are covers.

It wasn't until about 6 months later that the film was on an obscure cable channel, and I literally got goosebumps as soon as the opening credits rolled with "Treat her right". It was so incredible to actually see the characters performing the songs that I'd grown to love. It all became complete actually seeing the story unfold, and by the end you're really rooting for the band to succeed. When they perform "Try a Little Tenderness" I've never managed to watch that scene without tears in my eyes, it's such a fantastic version of the song and the energy Andrew Strong brings to it is just incredible, especially as he was only 16 at the time.

Anyone who loves music has to see this film, even you're not familiar with soul music - I promise you'll be hooked after seeing The Commitments!

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely great movie

10/10
Author: Watcher-37 from East Coast US
14 August 1999

I love this film. Everything about it might seem like it is just another cliche ridden story about the rise and fall of a band, but this movie is totally different somehow. It rises above anything previous in its genre. The characters are all both interesting, and their personality flaws are used to greatly illustrate the ending of the movie. The writing was superb, and acting from a cast of mostly unknowns top notch. The musical sequences were great, and served as an introduction for me to the songs and artists that they covered. Colm Meaney was hilarious as the very skeptical father of Jimmy.

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

"This way it's poetry..."

Author: Benedict_Cumberbatch from Los Angeles, CA
26 January 2008

This is the simple and captivating story of Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins, fantastic like the whole cast), a young guy who decides to form a soul band in Dublin, and all the amazing people who join him. They've got musical talent and big dreams, but is that enough to climb to the top (and stay there)?

Alan Parker has made some very diverse films ("Midnight Express", "Angel Heart", "Mississippi Burning", "Angela's Ashes") in his long career, but you can see that music is in his blood and one of his favourite themes ("Bugsy Malone", "Fame", "Pink Floyd The Wall", "Evita"). He orchestrates a mostly unknown cast (which includes a very young Glen Hansard, from the recent hit "Once") in a tale of hope, determination, and great music. The British have a great eye for the bittersweet side of life and misfits in general ("The Full Monty", "Little Voice", "Billy Elliot" are fine examples), often with music as an important factor in the background (coincidence? I don't think so!). "The Commitments" is a beautiful, cheerful film, as passionate and memorable as Cameron Crowe's masterpiece "Almost Famous", and certainly one of the best music films of all time. 10/10.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great Fun

6/10
Author: Andrew Marshall from United Kingdom
22 December 2003

A comedy about the rise and fall of a band in Dublin. This film is really funny and energetic, but you'll probably need to like the music to really enjoy it. The Commitments are a rough and ready group of kids that get together with an aging trumpeter Joey 'The Lips' Fagan. I'm not sure whether the cast were singers or actors before the film, but they're certainly pretty good at both during the film. The band plays 'Black' soul and the films set piece concerts make the story fairly zip along. Joey tells stories about all the famous musicians he's played with, but is he telling the truth ? When he arranges for a jam between the Commitments and Wilson Pickett we are going to find out ... or are we ?

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