|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This review review contains plot SPOILERS.
"When Pigs Fly" is an almost anonymous little movie I stumbled onto while checking the filmographies of some of the impressive kids in "A Little Princess" - in this case, Rachel Bella. Settings: the run-down section of a seen better days industrial port town; the "Rose of Erin" bar, where workers used to gather to enjoy a few convivial drinks and songs around the piano, but now just a run-down bar with pool table and a bar-dancer; and a run-down old house, now subdivided into small apartments. The house is owned by Marty, inherited from his father. Marty is a never has been jazz musician, who dreams of glitzy gigs that never were, and teaches piano now and then to tin-eared pupils. Sheila, still pretty, is the bar-dancer. She likes Marty, and when her boss, Frank, ordered the old shed out back to be cleared out, she took the one decent piece of furniture, an old wooden rocker, and gave it to Marty ... that's when the fun began. Mystically attached by coincidence to the rocker are two ghosts: Lilly, Frank's once wife whom he murdered fifteen years ago, and Ruthie, an eternally nine year old girl who died of a fever many years before that. There is a touching bond between the ghosts: each needs and loves the other; each would have a lonely and fearful eternity were it not for the other's devotion. They become enmeshed in Marty and Sheila's life, and Marty and Sheila become enmeshed in their past life and present situation. (MORE SPOILERS AHEAD) Together the four of them embark on bringing Frank to his just deserts for having abused and murdered Lilly ... and for having ruined the "Rose of Erin." No big spooky deal; just some fun capers that free him of his ill-gotten fortune, and provoke him into accidently admitting to the police that he had murdered Lilly. Unlike the standard ghost tale, this doesn't release Lilly and Ruthie from the rocking chair, but with Marty and Sheila's help the chair - and its occupants - find a home way better than that dark, miserable old storage shed they had been stuck in for years. But Marty and Sheila are released from their dead-end existence and look forward to a brighter life ahead, thanks to Lilly and Ruthie.
Alfred Molina (in a role poles apart from his urbane aristocratic town patron in "Chocolat) reads the role of the loser Marty with sensitivity. Even though he leads an aimless existence, he is ever a nice guy. It is no stretch to see him at first fearful and then loving of his ghost friends. Marianne Faithful is delightful as the Ghost Lilly. And Rachel Bella's giggling ghost wins your hearts, without resorting to childish gimmicks. Her devotion to Lilly glows with her every look and touch. Maggie O'Neill brings real heart to the role of the not-so-tough, not so worldly-weary bar dancer. And Seymour Casssel is great as the cruelly ominous bar owner Frank.
The movie looks like it was made on a tight budget. So much the better - the process didn't get in the way of the basically poignant story it tells.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a strange, flat, and subdued film that nevertheless has some
incidental interest, mostly for Marianne Faithful's performance. She's
not only still surprisingly lovely and a rather charismatic actor, but
she also in one scene rips off a stream of invective that reminds you
just who she is. And if that doesn't remind you, then her sitting at
the piano and giving the single best performance of "Londonderry Air" I
have ever heard will.
Otherwise, it's a very intelligent little movie that is unfortunately directed in an almost completely lifeless manner; it might have been a better script for someone else to film. Definitely check it out if you're a fan of Faithful's, but I can't really recommend it for anyone else.
I saw this film because I am an ardent fan of Marianne Faithful. I didn't know what to expect because Ms. Faithful has been in some terrible films in the past. I was enchanted with this film and I do wish it would be released on DVD. It is a most unusual ghost story and that is what is wonderful about it. There is nothing that is predictable about this film. What is a bit shocking is to see how Marianne Faithful became a ghost. It is a bit of a jolt. Alfred Molina gives a superb performance. I recommended it a Video Shop and wrote a mini-review and it was being checked out constantly by word of mouth. This film deserved more promotion than it received. It is not flatly directed in my opinion. It has a great cast and the script is top-notch. Alfred Molina and Marianne Faithful work extremely well together. A great ghost story but it is also a very human film. It has charm without being at all sappy. I really love this film because it is odd but it is odd in the best possible manner.
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