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If you like Irish music, then you have one more thing to love about this film; it is full of that music. The cast was well chosen both for appearance and acting abilities. Whether or not they really are, they do appear to be playing the music. The characters appear to be very real and always interesting.
There is considerable foul language and drunkenness in the film but it is essential to the understanding of the characters and their ways. There are many beautiful lessons and much pathos but even more humour in the film. Watch for a delightful surprise near the end.
Andrea Corr does a fine job as the lead of the one band. I would guess that she grew up in a similar environment and probably played in a band just like the one portrayed.
The Irish music is great. It made me want to go out and get traditional Irish CD's
Might have been better if they cut the movie after the final dance at the competition. The story after this is OK, but not great.
Anne and Teddy (naturally) fall for each other and the two of them decide to return to Liverpool after the festival ends with neither's band the winner. This development is threatening to Maisie and she finally confronts Jimmy with her pent up resentment and disappointment. How the young ones cope with their situation and emotions and resolve the problem of distance is the finale of this sweet story and is best left to the viewer to discover.
The acting is homogeneously fine with the comedy and drama in fine balance. And oh the music! Director John Irvin has created a little jewel of a film that warms the proverbial cockles of your heart. Grady Harp
The two feuding brothers seem to stop at nothing to prevent the other band from registering in the contest. While at the contest Anne falls for flute player Telly-played by Shaun Evans who is also the rival band's best player. Anne's mother wants no part of this budding romance and forbids Anne from seeing Telly. During the course of the contest Anne learns the truth about her father and why her mum is so bitter and protective of her. Now I don't want to give away the ending so I wont but I just want to add this is one of the best endings I have seen on the silver screen. The movie is full of high-jinx's between the two brothers and the music in the movie is terrific!
There were some priceless moments during the movie with Andrea including a drunken Andrea falling into a river then throwing up on Telly and also some touching heartfelt moments between Anne and her mum. Andrea Corr in this movie made me both laugh and cry.
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.
Anyhow, if you just want to sit and listen to some pretty Irish accents for an hour and a half, then by all means, see this movie. But if you're looking for something interesting and well written, look elsewhere. Even my mum thought it was boring and pointless....
It seemed like the plot just sprung out of nowhere. Like, we were watching the movie for half an hour and then out of nowhere Anne pops up and is like "WHOS MY DADDY". There wasn't much character development so it was hard to really feel for any of the characters unless you were lulled into the Irish environment. Even if you're meant to read between the lines...there just should have been more. We barely knew anything about the characters and we were supposed to care about their pasts? Plus, for all of the praise Anne was getting for being such a great fiddler, the movie didn't highlight her playing at all. She didn't stand out in sound or in appearance from any of the other band members, other than just being pretty.
But, I guess its sort of cute.
(Slight spoilers below. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens)
I love how they showed the depths of the sibling rivalry, but brought them back together. It may be kinda warm and fuzzy, and may have happen a little too easily, but I like that the major personal conflicts that had been haunting the brothers, and Maisie were resolved. A lighthearted movie is what I needed, in this serious world. Movies are supposed to be enjoyable anyway!
It's likable enough, if you don't dwell on its shortcomings too much. Read some of the reviews here and you'll be looking out for the faults only. There are far too many vomiting incidents to stomach, for instance and as many have said, Andrea Corr, obviously cast as a star-draw simply cannot marry up over-exaggerated facial expressions with her dialogue.
Whilst many swoon over the gorgeous landscapes and the photography will feel cheated by it actually being filmed on the Isle Of Man - there is a reason for this; IOM offered big tax breaks and incentives for film- makers, but this film is so promoted as being the Emerald Isle through and through, it's a natural disappointment to find out the truth.
Colm Meaney and his estranged brother Bernard Hill are fine as the two brothers, the former having left for Liverpool years before to make his fortune. They happen to both be going to the same ceilidh festival and as in the best traditions of cinema, they try and outwit each other to win the overall top trophy. Some of these scenes are amusing; I wouldn't describe the film as a comedy - take it as I did and you won't be disappointed with this aspect. Andrea Corr's character (minus the glamour and make-up) gets a little annoying and unbelievable and her whirlwind romance with Colm Meaney's son is bland and uninteresting (as is Shaun Evans, who plays him).
If you take the two brothers, the music, the craic, the (non-Irish) scenery and the family story you'll find a warming and invigorating Irish stew. However, the faults do mean it doesn't quite make four stars, for me.
Best line has to be - Colm and his mate sit down for breakfast at a B&B, Colm tucking in heartily, his friend feeling delicate, due to a hangover. The friend orders a pint of Guinness; Colm looks at him quizzically. 'Well, you can't eat on an empty stomach, can you?' the friend replies. I saw the film on BBC2.
The music is good at times. Colm Meaney and Bernard Hill are solid actors who carry this movie. The other actors aren't as good. Andrea Corr of the band The Corrs does a passable job as the ingénue daughter. Occasionally, there are a few cute jokes, but the drama isn't as good as it should. They dance around the secret for half of the movie. The secret gets a big reveal, but it's only a blip in the otherwise generic movie. Director John Irvin just doesn't have the touch for this material.
The director curiously adheres to some stereotypes of Irish people and culture (and Liverpudlians' too), with plenty of drinking, cursing, vomiting, and general idiocy; however, he gets some very obvious cultural markers wrong - single women in pubs (the movie is set in the 1960s, when Ireland was far from its current liberal self), a man ordering wine in a pub (utterly unheard of back then!), and some non-Irish outsiders going totally unnoticed. Worse than this, however, is his unwillingness to go anywhere unconventional or unpredictable: characters are as flimsy as the script, the pace dull and boring, and even the music is mediocre at best. It tells a dull story competently; but nothing more. Colm Meaney meanders through the movie in third gear, while Andrea Corr makes a tolerable debut. Patrick Bergin and Frank Kelly have cameos that they won't add to their resumes. All in all, a poor movie that wastes what little it had going for it. Do yourself a favor and rent "The Field" instead.
The story came next, and it involved what I most love in the whole world: music. But it is not that typical music contest story. There's music all along, and a contest too; but first time screenwriter Nicholas Adams involved another things: love, family and feelings. It's the most charming script, really, in the way it introduces the film's characters, one by one and in the way it deceives us keeping the most predictable secrets hidden until the right moments.
We first meet Jimmy (a very acceptable Colm Meaney), playing with his music band. He has many gifted musicians under his direction, including Teddy (an excellent young actor named Shaun Evans), who makes Jimmy because he is fond of modern music and plays that all the time. Then an old man gets up from a bed and walks a little bit. This is John Joe (Bernard Hill, that captain from Titanic now in top form), who lives, we quickly understand, for music. His band is led by Maisie (Charlotte Bradley) in the piano, and Anne, (the character played by Andrea Corr) who has a gift for the violin.
Thinking in other movies of this type, the music movies that bring up past moments for the people involved in the contest and other things like that, "The fighting temptations" came to mind. Mainly because it starred Beyoncé Knowles, in what was a vehicle for her, because she promoted her songs and the camera focused her intentionally and constantly. Here, Andrea Corr is another stunning actress inside the ensemble, and if you don't know who she is, you'll enjoy her brilliant portrayal of a messed up teenager (she played a teenage girl with 29 years) who needs someone that guides her way.
In comparison with "The fighting temptations", the ending here is different. It is what I was talking about Nicholas Adams' script, very sympathetic. Then the characters are real and we understand them. For example, John Joe says that Jimmy has no rhythm and when we see Jimmy playing alongside his band, his feet are totally out of time. Real are also the characters' personalities, that stick to them in all of their actions. So we laugh because of how stupid some characters are and the opportunities they miss because of the things they do. We get moved in the beautiful love story because we understand life can be like that sometimes and because the chemistry between the actors in undeniable.
John Irvin directed passionately and correctly a movie that's for anyone. Anyone who likes music, anyone who likes love, anyone who appreciates family and I forgot, the ending...Probably the most awkwardly pleasant ending I've witnessed in a long time. You'll see what I'm talking about.
I wasn't offended at all by the coarseness of some of the dialog and action in the film. I was, however, taken aback that its authors expected me to be entertained by it. There was also more vomiting during this movie than I usually care to see. Most of it on-screen.
I did like the two main characters who are brothers, long separated. But the rest of the case wasn't charming enough to hold my interest. Plus, this movie had two vomiting scenes, one of which involved false teeth and was really gross.
Hippies (in the early sixties??), bitter old maids, winsome lasses, young lads throwing up, sour old codgers with a heart of gold ... all we need is a couple of leprechauns.
Andrea Corr is an amazing musician - she can play the fiddle without moving her fingers. (Why on earth didn't they ask Sharon?) And her acting is ... unbelievable. "How can you ever forgive me," she asks her mother at one point. "I've said such dreadful things." Never mind your mother, girl, it's the rest of us you have to worry about.
The acting associated with the music could have been better, it was obvious to me that fiddle players were not playing the instruments, I don't play the fiddle but if was obvious to me. The previews really contained the best parts, there were a couple of surprises and a plot twist at the end, however the musical content could have been more satisfying. Colm Meany's acting consisted of smoking cigarettes and saying F***. Bernard Hill acting was excellent and he really carried the film, he played his character some what low key and really was never developed as a character.
There should have been more emphasis on the music. The contest consisted of the bands playing before 6 judges who really displayed no emotional relationship to the music, and the final musical piece the big dance was really confused, the best bit of music was when some band members played with the Hippies in my opinion.
There is a lot of humor in this movie, but also some family drama. The focus is the Ceili Band competitions with the bands of two brothers, one from rural Clare in Ireland and the other from Liverpool, who have had had a feud for over twenty years.
I enjoyed both the comedy and the realism of this movie.
At the same time a band based in Liverpool is getting ready for the same competition, and its leader is the brother of the leader of the Irish band. So much of the movie involves heated competition between the brothers, including some antics to try to delay each one enough to miss the registration deadline of 8PM.
Things get more complicated when the young girl in the Irish band begins to fall for a nice young boy in the Liverpool band. Her mother is unusually upset by this, and warns her daughter not to run off to Liverpool. "Let him come to you."
SPOILERS. The young daughter happens to also be the daughter of the Liverpool brother, a womanizer who had had a short fling with her mother years earlier. At first it seemed that the girl would go back to Liverpool with the band, but she changed her mind and statued home. But eventually the boy from Liverpool showed up for her, as her mother had suggested. Also, a dark horse won the competition, a band put together by the 3rd of the violin playing brothers, now a missionary priest who had brought along a group of black musicians he had taught to play the Irish music.