6.9/10
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9 user 15 critic

A Man of No Importance (1994)

R | | Comedy, Drama | February 1995 (USA)
Alfie Byrne is a middle-aged bus conductor in Dublin in 1963. He would appear to live a life of quiet desperation: he's gay, but firmly closeted, and his sister is always trying to find him... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Inspector Carson
...
Mick Lally ...
Father Ignatius Kenny
Anna Manahan ...
Mrs. Grace
Joe Pilkington ...
Ernie Lally
Brendan Conroy ...
Rasher Flynn
Joan O'Hara ...
Mrs. Crowe
Eileen Reid ...
Mrs. Rock
Eileen Conroy ...
Mrs. Curtin
Maureen Egan ...
Mrs. Dunne
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Storyline

Alfie Byrne is a middle-aged bus conductor in Dublin in 1963. He would appear to live a life of quiet desperation: he's gay, but firmly closeted, and his sister is always trying to find him "the right girl". His passion is Oscar Wilde, his hobby is putting on amateur theatre productions in the local church hall. We follow him as he struggles with temptation, friendship, disapproval, and the conservative yet oddly lyrical world of Ireland in the early 1960s. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

an extraordinary tale of an ordinary hero.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

February 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Um Homem Sem Importância  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$934,550 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Alfie Byrne: I've learned a horrible lesson.
Adele Rice: About me.
Alfie Byrne: About myself.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Screen Two: A Man of No Importance (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Make the World Go Away
Written by Hank Cochran
Published by Tree Publishing Company, Inc.
Performed by Ray Price
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

 
Moving film with wonderful performances
21 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In once sense this comment is a response to some of the comments/reviews already posted here. Some reviewers were apparently looking for a message or statement from the film and felt disappointed. At times, I think the "message" can be secondary to the art of the actor or the filmmaker. Ironically, the main character in "A Man of No Importance" is passionate about "Art for Art's sake". Art doesn't have to have a point. Part of the art of this film is in the tapestry of colorful characters, wonderful dialog, and captivating performances. Albert Finney, Brenda Fricker, Michael Gambon, as one would expect from actors of their calibers, are completely convincing and real. Albert Finney's performance is perfectly calibrated, his character a combination of charming exuberance and subtly expressed confusion and loneliness.

It may be the director intended to put across a particular message about homosexuality, but to me it seems the real message and point to the film is the resilience of the human spirit throughout the experiences of isolation, loneliness, frustration, confusion, sadness, repression, etc. Attitudes about homosexuality in 1960s Dublin is one context in which to express this, but obviously it's a universal theme that can be played out in many settings.

The real challenge, and where this movie succeeds in spades, is in bringing humor, lightness, and real poignancy to the issue through a character one can genuinely like and relate to on so many levels. The credit for this is attributable to Albert Finney's brilliant acting in a film that is ultimately about the frailty and the endurance of one man, who could be any man.

One aside: the reviewer who liked the film but made the comment that it's unusual for Albert Finney to play a real person, must have not seen many of his films. Admittedly, he has often portrayed characters who are "bigger than life", but he can also quite effectively play ordinary people. I recommend the reviewer check out the following films: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Two for the Road, Charlie Bubbles, The Browning Version, Shoot the Moon, Rich in Love, The Playboys, Erin Brockovich, Gumshoe, The Run of the Country, Endless Game, Picasso Summer, and The Image.


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