Set in Ireland, Sharon Curley is a 20 year old living with her parents and many brothers and sisters. When she gets herself pregnant and refuses to name the father, she becomes the talk of ...
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Set in Ireland, Sharon Curley is a 20 year old living with her parents and many brothers and sisters. When she gets herself pregnant and refuses to name the father, she becomes the talk of the town.Written by
This is the second story in Roddy Doyle's "Barrytown Trilogy", following the adventures of the Rabbitte family. However, as 20th century Fox owned the film rights to the Rabbitte name (from The Commitments), the characters had to be re-named in the subsequent film adaptations (The Snapper, The Van). See more »
When Sharon Curley goes into labour, they all pile into Jimmy's VW van to go to the maternity hospital, In the next scene we see the van travel south over Butt bridge in the center of Dublin. But the Rotunda maternity hospital in on the north side of Dublin, The same side as the Coolock home of the Curleys. See more »
Fine acting by Colm Meaney (Dessie Curley) and Tina Kellegher (Sharon Curley) carry this offbeat tragi-comedy about the perils of out of wedlock pregnancy in a working class Irish family. I think the Pope would approve of how this subject was handled, if he approved of the subject being handled in the first place.
What do I mean? Well, here's an unwanted pregnancy that in the apprehension of some people could arguably be seen as a result of something about as close to a rape as it gets without technically being rape, depending upon how you define your "technically." (She was drunk and an older man took advantage of her in the parking lot of the pub.) I won't say more for fear of spoiling the plot for you, but be forewarned that some viewers will find the whole thing uncomfortable.
Roddy Doyle, the gifted fictionalist (Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha, The Woman Who Walked into Doors, etc) wrote the novel and the screenplay. Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette 1985, Dangerous Liaisons 1988, etc.) directed. Doyle is a master of dialogue and has a warm sense of people that he imposes on his readers. Known as a realistic writer, he is actually a sentimentalist with a keen feel for the foibles of his characters.
There is a kind of TV sit-com feeling to Frears's direction in that nothing really depressing occurs. There's a neighborhood feel to the taunting, some windows are broken, and there's a fistfight, but none of the kids are on heroin or planting bombs. There's little violence and the sex depicted is minimalist. There's a sense that nothing is really wrong in the world, just some slips of behavior and some misunderstandings. You realize, for example, that despite Sharon's continued drinking the baby is not going to be born suffering from any kind of alcoholic syndrome. Furthermore, although Dessie has six kids to support, we never see him working overtime or worrying about money.
Doyle is also a political writer and has a message. His message here is that the gift of life is precious over and above how it is conceived and that narrow-minded men (grandfather-to-be Dessie Curley) can, through love, understanding and a little effort, rise above their prejudices and do the right thing and feel the right way. Politically speaking, the film walks softly and carries no banner between the two sides of the abortion question, clearly identifying with the pro-lifers without overtly offending the pro-choice side.
Perhaps it is best to leave the politics behind and, like many viewers, simply enjoy the laughs, the realistic dialogue and the warm, chaotic family atmosphere presented and save the moralizing for another day. By the way, you might have to watch this twice to catch some of the humor. Either that or have a good ear for the Irish brogue. For myself, I could have used subtitles.
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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