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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>
I just finished watching this on TV. The story is about several weeks in the lives of three bothers. Circumstances (what they are is unimportant) have caused the two younger bachelor brothers to move in with their older married brother and his family. The script explores the relationships between three loving Irish Catholic American brothers, each with a distinctive personality, and the relationships each has with the women in their lives. It's about real love and romance (not the sappy romantic comedy type), fears of commitment, and the twists and turns these men go through in dealing with that aspect of their lives.
Their Catholicism has a lot to do with the story. At one point Patrick says to his Jewish girl friend, "I go to Church every week; you go to Temple only once or twice a year." She replies, "Yes, but your religion is crazy." Although the most religious of the three, Patrick, goes against the Church's teachings in that he uses condoms; but, he worries about going to Hell should he commit other serious sin.
Marriage to all of them means a life-long commitment. Their mother's life set the standard for them. She had lived 35 years in a forced, loveless marriage until her husband passed away. That freed her to go to the man she had been in love with when circumstances caused her to marry the boys' father. Abortion was out of the question, as was divorce.
Ed Burns is credited with writing and directing the film and he also is very credible as the middle brother. While the entire cast made their characters seem real, the actor who in my mind stood out is Mike McGlone, who plays Patrick, the youngest brother who has a kind of altar boy personality. Perhaps Ed Burns' choice of camera angles gets some of the credit for making his performance particularly memorable, but McGlone brought something special to that part.
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