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This angst-filled tale of three Irish-Catholic brothers explores men's relationships with women. Three different situations are set up on parallel plotlines, with each brother facing a different kind of crisis. Their common bond as family, as well as close lifelong friends, allows them to express their feelings frankly and intimately, as they talk and discuss their concerns among each other. Jack finds himself in a marriage gone stale and under pressure to start a family that he does not yet feel ready for. Barry, dedicated to his film career and almost pathologically averse to any type of commitment in a relationship, is suddenly artistically successful and finds true love, both for the first time and both pulling him in opposite directions. Patrick is torn between his love for his religion and ethnic heritage and his love for Susan, his longtime Jewish girlfriend. Ultimately, they are all asked to resist temptation of one sort or another, with various poignant outcomes. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Irish brothers have to confront their Catholic consciences...
EDWARD BURNS is the writer/producer/director/actor of this charming piece of casual film-making on a shoestring budget that he turned out twelve years ago, obviously based on characters he cares about and knows intimately. It has the intimate immediacy of MARTY, another such tale about a lonely Brooklyn butcher looking for true love and the right marriage prospect to end his bachelor days.
In THE BROTHERS McMULLEN we have MARTY compounded by three--namely, the Irish brothers on Long Island who seem to indulge in endless dialog about life, love and the pursuit of happiness while sipping their favorite beers, each involved in a troublesome relationship that has them questioning their inner conflicts born by a Catholic conscience.
It's not exactly up to the Woody Allen standard of such tales, but the dialog is fresh enough and natural, the modest settings are appropriate for the story and the jaunty Irish music on the soundtrack does its job.
Nothing complex here. Just a warm, engaging, occasionally funny tale of average guys struggling with their fixed ideas of moral values, each unable to come to terms with inner conflicts--and two of them simply unable to make commitments to the women they love.
The film is really carried by the three brothers: EDWARD BURNS as the one least able to commit, and JACK MULCAHY and MIKE McGLONE as his troubled siblings.
Summing up: Nothing really special, but it did win a couple of awards at film festivals.
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