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It's the mid 1960s. With a long tradition of Irish music in their bloods, middle aged John Joe McMahon and younger Jimmy McMahon, two of three brothers, grew up in County Clare, Ireland. They have long been estranged, their falling out over a woman. John Joe, still living in County Clare, has never married, while Jimmy, who long left County Clare to live in Liverpool, is on wife number five and probably counting. As fiddlers, they each lead their own ceili band, following those strict musical conventions in which they were raised. As such, Jimmy's talented flautist, Teddy, exasperates him if only because of Teddy being musically influenced by among others The Beatles. John Joe's band has won the best ceili band competition at the prestigious annual Irish music festival three years running. This year, Jimmy's band will also be in attendance for the first time. John Joe and Jimmy do not want to see each other and do whatever they can to ensure the other does not make it to the festival.... Written by
An Irish music competition such as the one portrayed in the film is called a "fleadh" (pronounced like "flahhh"). However, nobody uses this word in the movie. See more »
The film is supposedly set in the early 60's when the Beatles were a beat band. Yet we see an English car with an H registration - not issued until August 1969. Alex and Teddy also mention Kevin Keegan signing for Liverpool. This did not happen until 1971. See more »
Not much of a plot to this, most of my points are for the lovely Andrea Corr and the acting of the three brothers, Colm Meaney, Bernard Hill and Noel Bridgeman.
All plot lines are totally predictable if not contrived. The abandoning father, the bitter mother, the angry daughter. However, it is saved, and this is refreshing, by there being no mawkishness or melodrama.
Poor County Clare gets short shrift and never appears, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland stand in for it.
I don't know what the reasons for not filming it in today were. There are frequent references to the Beatles to remind us it is taking place in the sixties. But I know for a fact that a Clare man married five times in England and returning to County Clare in the sixties would have been met by the priest and run out of town on a rail as giving bad example to the young ones.
Also the single mother lying about her marital status (a widow), that was never clear, did she invent a man who died and a name for herself and her daughter? I don't like plot holes likes this. With such a simple storyline these should have been tightened up.
The ceili band and actors were badly out of synch in some of the scenes, feet tapping hopelessly out of rhythm. But that said all in all it was a pleasant little froth of a thing with lovely music.
7 out of 10.
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