Breakfast on Pluto (2005) Poster

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Amazing, Touching Film
weesa72921 January 2006
While this is not a completely conventional film either in structure or storytelling, it is deeply committed to telling the story of Kitten. Just as the film is committed, so is Cillian Murphy committed to being the best Kitten he can, and he succeeds to an almost uncomfortable point, which I think is part of the storytellers goal.

Who does not want to be loved? Not many of us, and Kitten wants it more than most. Her journey to find love in whatever form it may take is both touching and harrowing at times. You cringe when she finds her self in certain situations, and you root for her to take charge of her life, but that is something she is quite unable to do for the most part of her journey.

While this story features the good, the bad and the ugly of the transvestite lifestyle, there is no judgment being made, it is presented as a simple fact of Kitten's life from nearly the first time you see her. That in itself is refreshing. There are stereotypes, but not presented in stereotypical situation, which is also refreshing.

I came away from this movie with a warm feeling in my heart for the character, the story, and the commitment of everyone involved in the film, it drew me in, it took me to places I did not expect, and it gave me a film experience you simply can not find every day in our cookie cutter Hollywood film world these days. My hat is off to all of you involved in the film. If you like something different, something unexpected, and something unusual made with a lot of love, this is the film for you.
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The Smiling Game
Donald Agustamarian8 December 2005
There's never been a character like "Kitten" on the screen before or an actor like Cillian Murphy for that matter. What a feast of a film! What a joyful race through a desolate existence dressed in smiles and hope and gratefulness. Neil Jordan's introduce us to this extraordinary real life character with the magical slant of a fairy tale. A lesson for all seasons. A unique portrait of a victim that behaves like a hero. The idea of victim doesn't even enter the orbit of his reality. How beautiful! I hope this marvellous film find its way to a large audience. I want everyone to feel what I felt. I was enthralled by the positiveness at the heart of its message. And if all this wasn't enough. Liam Neeson! Giving the best performance of his career as the most human of the imperfect humans that populate the planet. Do yourself a favour, put aside preconceptions and run to have breakfast on Pluto.
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Neil Jordan returns to his best material: gender bending and the IRA
roland-10431 May 2006
This spellbinding, tightly written, tightly wound, full speed ahead film is Neil Jordan's best work by far since his 1992 hit, "The Crying Game." And, interestingly, in this new film, Jordan returns to exactly the same intertwined themes that marked "Crying Game": the armed struggle of Northern Irish Catholics against the British Crown and gender bending.

Unlike the last minute revelations in "Crying Game," however, here the protagonist's transsexuality is placed front and center from the getgo. Cillian Murphy gives a bravura performance as Patrick "Kitten" Braden, in a story set in the 60s and 70s. Murphy oozes sensual vitality and is a world class flirt, but he's also genuinely kind and compassionate toward everybody.

The story is divided into 35 brief, fast paced "chapters" following Kitten's life over several years, first in a village near Belfast, later in London. The musical score, which is extraordinarily good, is an eclectic mix of everything from 40s pop tunes to Harry Nilsson and Van Morrison. Good supporting turns are provided by Liam Neeson, Ruth Negga, Stephen Rea, Gavin Friday and Brendan Gleeson. My top rated narrative drama of 2005: grade 10/10 A.
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You are being served now!!
philip-ct5 March 2006
This film is about a transvestite on one level, but it is also a lot more: it's about, belonging, being, loving and being loved. What could have been a one-dimensional caricature becomes a three dimensional movie in the hands of a good director like Neil Jordan, and actors such as Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, and Cillian Murphy (who is magnificent).

Cillian Murphy imbues Patrick "Kitten" with growing dignity as he/she matures through the film, and at the end she has become a self-assured woman, who has 'found' family, her mother and father, and a meaning in life.

The film does not shy away from the Irish-English conflict, either, and the prejudice directed against "Paddy" is appalling, reminiscent of "In the Name of the Father." It is not for the faint-hearted, be aware! Costumes and music of the late 60's / early 70's are both equally impressive. There is an excellent soundtrack.

In all, I found the film quirky and uplifting; a friend with me pronounced it "depressing". Whatever, it needs to be seen and Provo's an interesting view of the times in which the story is set. Judge for ourself.
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Breakfast on Pluto is amazing
Skstar172310 October 2005
This film is fabulous- and has nothing to do with the solar system (haha!) Cillian Murphy is AMAZING in his complicated role as a trans-sexual man growing up in Ireland in the 1970's and his quest to find what he wants in his life. (Do not judge Mr. Murphy's acting skills from just watching Batman Begins or Red Eye this level of acting falls more in the type of his earlier works such as On the Edge and Disco Pigs) Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, and Brandon Gleeson are far more than excellent in supporting roles. This film is dependent on its star (Mr. Murphy) and he shines. The themes in this film are universal. Even while the story is sad and the situation the main character- Kitten-finds herself in are very sad, it somehow always becomes funny. The interaction between Kitten and the people around her is fascinating, funny and true-to-life. Mr. Murphy is amazing and deserves and Academy Award for his stunning and flawless portrayal of such a complicated character. It is fabulous!!! Don't want to spoil anything about the plot but if anyone has read the book DO NOT expect the same situations or ending.This film is tender, sweet, funny, has an amazing script and has actors that made this (to some) far-fetched (not to me or anyone I know but one could have that impression) fairy-tale like story excellent. If you strip away the complicated details of this trans-sexual Irish male and his travels during the 70's you can find the root, universal story of a young person looking for love.
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The First Truly Great Film I Have Seen In ages....
omegaknight_d1 January 2006
A masterpiece. I have not seen many of Jordan's other works, but I intend to give his career a thorough examining after seeing Breakfast on Pluto. I also now have an immense respect for Cillian Murphy. To go from 28 Days Later and Red Eye to the layered, mesmerizing performance of Pluto is astounding. The story of using fantasy to escape the harshness of reality is so appealing, one would think this movie could be accepted by the masses. Dreamy visuals, multi layered and realistic characters mixed with stark visceral violence and political mechanisms create an emotionally jarring experience unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I intend to go to the film again and perhaps again. And I urge everyone to go and see this film and support it. Instantly in my top ten all time favorite movies. Bravo Mr. Jordan and Bravo Mr. Murphy.
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A brilliant film
Dougster-518 November 2005
I lived in London in 1973, the year that the main character in the film arrives in London from Ireland.

Breakfast On Pluto caught the tone of London in 1973 so well that it was like re-living the past. A past when friendships were mighty and strong; a past when London was a sexually liberated city; a past when people were so wrapped up in television that the London park system had to hire people to dress up like the television creatures called wombles.

But more than bringing 1973 back to life for me, this film showed me an amazingly resilient Irishman named Kitten. To the people who think that a 135-minute film is way too long, I would tell them to go see Breakfast On Pluto, because those 135 minutes just fly by. And they are 135 minutes of great acting, across the board.
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Cillian's Kitten
markdelguado28 July 2007
Cillian Murphy is superb as an alien of sorts finding its way in our midst. Giving the other cheek as if it was nothing. The goodness, Cillian Murphy, finds in his character goes - I'm sure - far beyond what the screenplay may have required. The goodness of his character feels private. A personal discovery. I hope I'm not making the character sound sentimental, because he/she's not, far from it and that is one of the many surprises to be enjoyed in a film full of surprises. Neil Jordan had already confronted sexual identity in the brilliant "The Crying Game" he, as far as I'm concerned, goes even further in "Breakfast On Pluto". There is no confusion here, everything is blatantly true. Moving beyond words. A mesmerizing piece of acting and film making of the purest kind. Don't miss it.
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Extraordinary film from Mr. Jordan
lrpulini3 October 2005
I saw this on 10/2 at the NYFF-we got last minute tickets right up front. Neil Jordan was present at Q&A-an absolute treat. The film was simply wonderful from beginning to end--charming, emotionally satisfying, delicately nuanced and very powerful. The acting was sublime, as in all Jordan films. Cillian Murphy is so impossibly gorgeous and yet so fearless and skillful an actor, who uses his physicality to his supreme advantage. The Irish gang of three-Gleeson, Neeson and Rea, who usually appear in Jordan's films, were superb and touching as usual. There were wonderful casting touches--Bryan Ferry as a sicko, Gaivn Friday as a gay rockabilly, etc. The film was audacious, swerving mightily between broad comedy and grim tragedy. The most arresting elements were the amazing customes and the choice of 60s and 70s songs, something Jordan discussed in detail during the Q&A.

I urge all cineastes to catch this one-you will be amazed and deeply satisfied.
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A great film that never drags...
hurstdragn21 September 2005
I saw BOP in Toronto last week and it was one of my favorites (of the 29 I saw). Cillian Murphy was fabulous as the brave and relentless seeker of the truth who faced life with conviction even when everything around him seemed to be disintegrating. Liam Neeson as the town priest was credible and at times heartbreakingly genuine in his reactions to unfolding situations. Stephen Rea was an unorthodox but sweet magician who brought a great deal to his small part. The supporting cast, especially Brendan Gleeson and Ruth Negga, acted with realism and intensity that helped bring the film to life. Neil Jordan, whose track record stands on its own, delivered a delicious dim sum that left me wanting more and at the same time completely sated. Declan Quinn's dulcet cinematography, much like that of Monsoon Wedding and Vanity Fair, made the film one of the most lustrous at Toronto. After getting the willies watching how evil Murphy can be it was great to see him as an uber-hero. Oh, and did I say I want some of those outfits?
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Kitty, kitty, kitty
jotix1001 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Neil Jordan's films are always a pleasure to watch. There are always surprises in the way he develops his movies, as he proves with "Breakfast on Pluto", which the director helped adapt for the screen with the author of the novel, Pat McCabe. Mr. Jordan achieves another triumph in his distinguished career with this new movie that has a genuine and gritty look thanks to the excellent cinematography by Declan Quinn.

When young Patrick is left at the step of the small town's church, Father Bernard doesn't seem too surprised to find the young infant at his door. He is instrumental in placing the young boy with one of the town's women who brings up Patrick until he is a teen ager. It becomes clear young Patrick is a little girl trapped in a boy's body. He begins calling himself Kitten. His love for the outrageous makes him dress in a manner that he sticks out from the crowd. As such, he attracts the eye of a singer of a band who falls for Kitten and takes her to live in a remote part of the country. Alas, the romance takes a tragic turn because of Billy's involvement with the IRA.

Kitten always wanted to find the "Phantom Lady", a nickname he gave to his natural mother, who moved to London after giving him up. As he arrives in the big city, Kitten discovers a world he never knew and in many ways, he thrives int the rich atmosphere of that swinging place at that time. The film is, in a way, a picaresque account of Kitten's road to maturity. His goal to find his mother doesn't happen until the end of the film. When the moment comes, Kitten is not resentful of the way he was left behind as he discovers that his mother has made a life for herself and her new reality.

The film is a delight because the work of Cillian Murphy. Mr. Murphy makes the delightful Kitten come alive. This is a tricky part to play and with the guidance of Mr. Jordan, this young actor makes the most of it. Equally excellent in smaller parts are Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson, Ruth Negg and Gavin Friday.

The brilliant collaboration between Mr. Murphy, the star, and Mr. Jordan, the director, pays off in many ways making this film the delight and fun it is to watch.
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Great Film... possible spoilers
Diana B.3 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the film at the NY Film Festival (with the actors in attendance), and I have to say that I loved it. In the film, Patrick "Kitten" Braden is an Irish baby who was abandoned by his mother on the doorstep of an uncaring stepmother. From the time he is a child, Kitten's cross dressing tendencies and his outspoken nature cause people to reject him (remember, this is Catholic Ireland in the 70s). Kitten grows up among the unrest of the IRA, but he is determined to be happy, and in order to be happy, he has to be himself (or herself). He goes to London, where he encounters all sorts of problems (they don't like the fact that he's Irish or a transvestite), but he keeps his optimistic nature despite all the hardship. The film is not about a person discovering himself (as so many coming-of-age movies are); it is about a Kitten knowing who she is and not changing her ways to please the world at large.

The direction and cinematography are amazing, but then this is Neil Jordan. Whatever problems you might have had with Interview With a Vampire, you can't deny that the movie was beautiful to look at. The same is true of all Jordan's films. He starts this film with a bird's eye view, and has many beautiful touches throughout. The chapter titles are hilarious. In particular, look out for the beautiful shot composition and direction of the scene between Kitten and her father in the peeping club. It's absolutely beautiful and well shot. Though he strays from the book (a lot), I believe the movie remains true to the character of Patrick, a charming, sometimes self-involved person who stubbornly makes his way through life. It must have been difficult to bring Kitten's active fantasy life to the screen, but Jordan helps us navigate between her fantasies and her reality with great skill.

The performances are the best thing about the film. Liam Neeson is always great, and this is no exception. Same goes for Stephen Rea. The actress who plays Charlie is someone to watch out for; she's great. The guy who plays Irwin did not impress me, but he wasn't bad. The movie, however, belongs to Cillian. Physically, he is suited for the role because he's so small, but it isn't just his appearance that helps. I've been watching Murphy's career since 28 Days Later, and I love his ability to switch between being really intimidating (Red Eye) or really vulnerable (How Harry Became a Tree); sometimes he's both in the same movie (28 Days Later). The man knows how to use his body to convey strength, or the lack thereof. Here, he is absolutely convincing as the witty Kitten, who desperately wants to be loved, but won't compromise her personality. You can see the hurt in his eyes when he is mistreated, but also the strength of his mind when he is determined to do something (witness the gun disposal scene and the police interrogation scene). Just because Kitten looks weak doesn't mean he is weak. When you least expect it, he summons a great amount of strength to pull through difficult situations.

I highly recommend the movie to anyone who has a chance to see it. It is hilarious, yet heartbreaking. The events related by Kitten are sad and terrible, but Kitten's sense of humor always shines through. The audience was in stitches the whole time. Was the movie perfect? No. Is it incredibly good, even great? Definitely.
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The best film of the year by far!
morrellally14 November 2005
I have now seen this film twice, and I think it is the year's best film by far. Cillian Murphy performance is absolutely astonishing. He should get an Oscar for sure. Both of the viewings I went to for this film were followed by a standing ovation, and lots of tears from many audience members. It is a modern day fairy tale, told in the most devastatingly beautiful way. can honestly not say enough good things about this film, and especially Cillian Murphy's performance. I personally have never been touched by a film like I have by this one. There is so much honesty, love and innocence. It is absolutely beautiful. I Please go see this film. It is truly an incredible experience.
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More like Earth than you'd expect
losdzez23 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
As the film began, my companion said "Are we going to see Cillian Murphy play someone normal for once?" I said "No, he's playing a transvestite". I immediately wanted to take back those words, for who am I to judge someone's sexuality and/or choice of apparel . . .

As an infant, Kitten Brady is abandoned on the doorstep of a priest. As it turns out - beside the women's clothing and all - he's pretty normal - like anyone, he wants to know who his parents are, and why his mom left him there. He wants to belong somewhere.

On the one hand he seems to be drifting through life clinging to whomever will have him - but don't we all have that need to be wanted? But rather than searching for himself, Kitten is more sure of who he is than most people - he wears who he is on the outside, every day, and goes through life being bashed because of it. Most of us aren't that brave.

Murphy's portrayal of Kitten is flawless. (He makes a beautiful woman, by the way). He communicates Kitten's seamless connection with femininity by himself revealing nothing false about his own transformation into this character. We cease to see Kitten as a "man" or to define his "gender" somewhere in the first third of the film and instead see Kitten's feelings and longings - which are exactly like our own. He becomes familiar, comfortable. We would not begrudge Kitten being happy, ever.

Kitten appears weak but he's strong enough to withstand anything in his quest for belonging.

I found myself wanting to read the novel this movie is based on, as the IRA terrorist portion, while interesting, was a bit difficult to connect to the rest of Kitten's experience.

Liam Neeson is, as always, excellent, although we don't get to know his character well before we are re-introduced - so has he changed or did we just not know him? There are some nice emotional moments and we care about Kitten, but the vignettes give us more of a series of snapshots of Kitten but not much plot until the last third of the film. It left one wondering a bit if Cillian Murphy's Kitten hasn't made a sweet feast for us out of not such a filling story.

Still, watching this film is like eating delicious cheesecake. Each delicious bite reminds you that the last one was delicious and the next one will be delicious.
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The Crying Game meets Velvet Goldmine meets... Cillian Murphy!
Flagrant-Baronessa13 October 2006
It is admirable that a film of such tragic content can manage both accessible and enjoyable. In the front row for the 'tragic' part is Kitten, a flamboyant, high-spirited transvestite who falls prey to prostitution and accusations of terrorism in Britain during the late 1960's. In the enjoyable end are the film's layered performances, fluent narration and, arguably its goldmine, the music...

The opening of 'Breakfast on Pluto' sees a lively Cillian Murphy strut down the street to Sugar Baby Love by the Rubettes, with long blonde hair, red lipstick and a killer dress, playfully exchanging sass with onlookers and flirting with life. He is exuding courage. Cut to a bleak small Irish town on the border and a young woman leaving her baby outside the Bishop's door in a basket. The baby is Kitten and the bishop is Liam Neeson, whom upon discovering this new 'gift' adopts a confused, troubled expression that he wears well for the rest of the film.

Where the good ol' Bishop stays the same – patient but troubled – Kitten shifts onto a path that undoubtedly deviates from the strict conventions of the Irish community; he develops a fondness for cross-dressing in ladies' clothes, writing racy stories and expressing himself creatively. Walking around in an idealist bubble of dreams while being harshly raised as a 'bastard' child, Kitten's bubble bursts eventually and he runs off seeking greener pastures in London where he ultimately resorts to fully-fledged prostitution.

Although I am no member of the Cillian Murphy camp, I credit where credit is due and this film is a showcase for his unique talent. I say 'unique' since realism is typically sought from actors today and Murphy embodies the opposite – he is theatrical, over-the-top, colourful and flamboyant which is why he fits the part of a transvestite so well. His character, Kitten, stands up for what he believes in and when faced with injustice – such as false accusations for IRA bombings – he indulges in music, writing and art, descending into his own mind and never once letting the bitterness overcome him. The soundtrack to 'Pluto' is nothing short of remarkable, sewing together the narrative with deft strokes. It is simply peppered with 1960's/1970's gems.

Yet the film's heaviest weapon in its arsenal is contrast, a device that Neil Jordon clearly has wielded to perfection here. One minute it is bursting with hippie music – a sprawling surge of contemporary flair and fury that takes the form of fashion, music and lifestyle. The next minute it zooms back in on the bleak little Irish town making it overtly clear to the reader why Kitten fled his native town for London in the first place. Yet there's that familiarity about it, and Liam Neeson... needless to say, Pluto delicately juxtaposes the life in Ireland with the life in London during this era. In the portrayal of the latter, it aptly balances tragedy with comedy, funny with grave, bleak with colourful. It is a gripping amalgam of qualities.

'Breakfast on Pluto' is devoid of any discernible flaws, except that there is a multitude of characters to keep track of and it seems as though the film itself loses focus at times because of this, and because of a pacing that occasionally drags. A little condensation would be nice, perhaps. It also tips over into absurdity at a few points such as a maid talking to Liam Neeson's crotch (not that I didn't enjoy the close-up!) in one of Kitten's fantasies. it needs to be said: it carefully treads between stupid and fun. But it does it extremely well.

8 out of 10
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Little Boy Lost -- Little Girl Found
nycritic20 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Some of the world's strongest people aren't the ones who display the biggest muscles and drag airplanes through their teeth while grunting and shrieking like banshees, but the most unassuming ones, whom you and I would take for granted and even pity them as they wander the streets of any major city, alone, looking for a niche in a world that would certainly kick them to death at the slightest chance. I've always admired the subtle but iron strength that such people display because put through the most awful, degrading of circumstances -- such that you and I would cringe at -- they walk right through them, seemingly in denial but really unscathed, letting every ounce of baggage go and never looking back as they reach their final destination.

Neil Jordan's BREAKFAST ON PLUTO has to be, bar none, one of the most under-seen and under-appreciated movies of 2005. Why it didn't receive a wider distribution is probably a mishandling of its target audience -- plus, TRANSAMERICA was already basking in the lion's share of its movie-going audience and a favorite for most awards. The story of Patrick (Patricia) "Kitten" Braden, his abandonment by his mother at the doors of a church run by Father Bernard, his coming into an awareness that he would rather be a woman than a man at a very early age even when the mere suggestion drives his adoptive mother and older sister into fits of rage, and his/her subsequent escape into an dangerous world in search of the biological mother who keeps on appearing like a ghost and who in Kitten's mind looks like Mitzi Gaynor, couldn't be more well written than it is here.

Treated in chapters, it does have a strong parallel to the works of Charles Dickens (and no, I'm not agreeing with the general consensus -- watch the movie and if you've read any of his works you'll also have to agree there is a little more than a passing similarity to Dickens' universe) with the appearance of extremely shady characters in Kitten's trek throughout London as she tries to reconnect with her mother. Weaving itself in and out of Kitten's life are the IRA, but this seems to be more circumstantial than essential to Kitten's character because she couldn't be less interested in rifles or bombs or their plight even when the people she associates with -- due to chance -- are. There's an extremely funny scene when after Kitten tanks as a rock chick because the band deems her an act killer and a target for homophobes, the leader of the band takes a liking to her, brings her to his trailer in the middle of nowhere, where once she decides to clean it up she finds a huge arsenal of rifles of all shapes and sizes and decides to dispose of them later, an act that almost causes her to get killed. Later on, she inexplicably winds up being a suspect in the bombing of a disco, but this is less due to her transvestism and more to her Irishness.

Despite a film about someone in the outer reaches of acceptance, there is surprisingly little homophobia in BREAKFAST ON PLUTO. The violence Kitten finds on the streets is again circumstantial -- anyone working the streets is subject to meeting the weirdest, creepiest folk and Kitten seems to attract them like flies. It's actually a relief when the same policeman who at first tried to wrestle any truth to her "involvement" with the IRA sees how she doesn't belong in the streets and takes her to a local peep show where she finally finds some order in her chaotic life and the woman inside her comes out in full bloom. As an added irony, this is exactly when she learns of her biological mother, but like the boy in "The Alchemist", finding her mother is anti-climactic. It's been a trick throughout the entire movie. She never needed this reaffirmation of her own self -- she was always there.

It takes a lot of steel to play this kind of role and not many actors, so dependent they are on their perception of masculinity (itself a form of vanity and insecurity), can pull it off so convincingly. You will never see a Tom Cruise or a Mel Gibson do this sort of character -- perish the thought! Cillian Murphy, so vicious in RED EYE, does a complete left turn, and not only becomes Kitten but disappears completely into her femininity somewhat reminiscent of Dusty Springfield who continually sings in the background her "Windmills of your Mind". It's such a moving performance that far exceeds Dustin Hoffman's in TOOTSIE and even Johnny Depp's in ED WOOD because it's not a one-note joke. Kitten is a man in search of his inner woman, knowing he is "way out there", not caring one bit to play it stealth (as many transgendered do), who stands up to his existence as a she and finds her own acceptance, even when the world may not always embrace it.
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Irish Tragicomedy for the 21st Century
wmjiii7283 December 2006
A distinctive film. The powerful ethnic Irish tone is reminiscent of films from the 1930's-40's with Barry Fitzgerald. Humor and troubled times. "Serious, serious, serious", as Kitten says. John Ford would have lauded this film.

In Ford's day topics like transexuality, cross-dressers and the sex trade would never have been addressed. But, with these modern inclusions, the script has the freshness of "The Quiet Man", with Irish "Sprong". I kept expecting a "Breakfast" reference to "Lucky Charms".

I strongly recommend ALL viewers to play the DVD with English subtitles "ON". Americans, like myself need help with comprehension of the rapid-fire Irish accents and vernacular. Also, without subtitles one misses the darlin' lines scripted for the robins.
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A New Candide Takes the Irish Troubles in High-Heeled Stride
noralee30 December 2005
If Candide had been born a trannie Irishman from the 1960's through Thacherite England, he would be Cillian Murphy in "Breakfast on Pluto."

Neil Jordan draws on several genres to create an original view point of politics, music and human relationships -- takes on "the troubles" from "Bloody Sunday" and Jim Sheridan's films; the cultural changes in the period like Milos Forman's "Hair" and "Forest Gump"; drag queens from "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "The Naked Civil Servant" and the gender-bending combination in his own "The Crying Game."

But the story, direction and most of all the central performance create a complete person at a specific time that has renewed contemporary relevance. Whereas Felicity Huffman's transsexual in "Transamerica" just wants to disappear into normalness, Murphy's "Patrick/Kitten Braden" eschews the frequent importuning to be serious and wants from childhood to live his fantasies to make them real despite a world demanding either/or, with us or against us. This is the first film I can think of with no revelation of childhood sexual abuse for such a character, but rather an orphan's lack of parental love from birth.

Jordan marvelously pulls off the trick of seamlessly integrating for the viewer the gritty, tumultuous reality with "Kitten"s amusing talent for turning a sordid life into the best of all possible worlds as a romantic musical romantic fantasy. We see this world both from "Kitten"s perspective, complete with talking robins and sardonic autobiographical chapter headings that I presume were carried over from Pat McCabe's novel, as he co-wrote the script, and the reactions of friends and enemies, as "Patrick/Kitten" goes from the frying pan into the fire (perhaps too many times) amidst political, cultural and violent turmoil.

One of the continuing themes is no matter what worlds "Kitten" picaresquely glides through, from a small town to Dublin to rock 'n' roll to IRA fighters to cops to nightclubs to London streets and more, homophobia trumps every other hatred that any one has for any other person, place, thing, religion or philosophy. This is adroitly illustrated when "Kitten" becomes enamored of a glam rock bar band, led by a charismatic Gavin Friday, and pushes the boundaries of that gender-bending performance art too far for straight guys' comfort. Rocker Bryan Ferry also has a small, but non-musical role, as one of a string of many, many older men, some down right creepy, attracted to "Kitten" for good or ill in a distorted Oedipal mirror.

While "Kitten" doesn't actually say she is dependent on the kindness of strangers, it is a relief when now and again friends rescue her when she seems incapable of either common sense or self-esteem. Occasionally, "Kitten" does display some perspicacity and even maturity to reveal sanity and intelligence, as well as considerable artistic creativity, behind those wide-eyed baby blues, such as when she explains the layers of meaning behind the title and a pro-life theology that embraces all differences to find family, as well as finally dealing with parent issues.

Murphy's performance is simply astounding. I've used gendered pronouns to indicate when the charming hunk from "Girl With Pearl Earring" or "interMission" or "Red Eye" completely becomes a woman throughout his body, no matter the camera angles, like no other straight male actor before has ever become a male to female transsexual on screen (Lee Pace's performance in "A Soldier's Girl" is the closest comparison). "Kitten" can be annoying, but she is always a real person, not a guy in drag.

The supporting cast is wonderfully atmospheric, particularly the lesser-known players Ruth Negga and Laurence Kinlan as "Kitten"s life-long friends and Ian Hart as an aggressive cop turned protector.

The Brit and Irish pop music selections on the soundtrack are brilliant. About half are unfamiliar to American audiences, including cover versions of others' hits. The songs are perfectly selected for either lyrics or period evocation or rhythm or emotion, such as two Van Morrison tunes ("Madame George" and "Cypress Avenue"), for additional commentary on the action. It's hard not to hum along.

A warning to American audiences that the Irish brogues are quite thick; I'd welcome seeing the film with not just the robins subtitled. This is exacerbated by Murphy's adopted feminine voice and swallowed cadence, which not only can get irritating, but seemed under-miked or not post-dubbed. I sympathized when cops were trying to shake him out of these mannerisms.

The extremely long credits at the end would seem to indicate some union feather bedding in exchange for the location shooting financial benefits.
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Warning: Spoilers
While Neil Jordan is mostly known for directing horror films like "The Company of Wolves" and "Interview with the Vampire" and also dramas like "The Crying Game" and "The End of the Affair", personally I consider "Breakfast on Pluto" to be his best movie, being a notorious effort worth of recognition.

Cillian Murphy is simply excellent on his role Patrick "Kitten" Braden. His performance made the character someone believable and human and it could be easily considered the most impressive work of his entire career.

Part comedy, part drama, and with a couple of bizarre "fairy tale" elements, "Breakfast on Pluto" manages to be an honest and genuinely emotional story which never fails to deliver.

Brilliantly directed and with an awesome soundtrack, "Breakfast on Pluto" is one of those films that could be watched several times without losing any of its merits. It is funny, sad and heartwarming at the same time, but not in a conventional way. (At least, not in the "conventional way" of Hollywood movies)

In a time when apparently everything have been said before, honest and well made films like this convince me that cinema is not dead yet.

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loved this movie ...alot.
dvaci22 December 2005
I just saw this movie, knew nothing about it beforehand, but highly recommend it. There are some awesomely filmed scenes, great 70's music, superb acting, transformations, quick pace, yet lots of ground covered, talking birds but most of all it's the unexpectedness, the resilience displayed, the costumes...oh my god, the dreamy guy Kitten dances with, the story reenactments. Happy endings had cute chapter headings which worked almost. Here we have chapter headings as well but the work well. It's a quirky film and the opening sequence shot at strange angles lets us know this is not your usual formulamatic film. Cool to see Stephen Rhea (sp??) in it as the magic guy. The music is used so imaginatively... Fly Robin Fly !
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Magically Transmitted Reality
Samet Atasoy7 July 2006
The main feeling I personally got from the movie is that the whole world has gone nuts and Patrick (Cillian) is the only good one in the ''gone-bad'' basket, yet people think he is abnormal. He expresses himself quite well, he is calm, understanding, and he is loving. All the things done by people except Patrick is very harsh compared to him. And he is isolated in that way too. The police officers tell him ''it doesn't make sense'', because Patrick wants to remain in his ''sweet cell''. And this line for me is of great importance, in terms of ''As if anything we do makes sense''

The movie, in general, grasps you like a book, as it intends with it's chapters. The main point about the movie is that it focuses on Patrick and what happens to him. Not the random drama of a woman trapped in a man's body. That is what really defines movie. It really does not try to tell us how dramatic a life of a transvestite can be. It says, these are caused by the dream-like desires of a boy, any boy. The movie also is very intimate, it feels like if you were to walk right in the scene and start talking to the characters, they would be okay with it.

Patricia Kitten Braden, is not a character that you would encounter everyday. However remote his existence feels, he is real just the same. Although in the beginning, he is a bit offensive against people who tries to ''correct'' him. That changes as his journey continues. The more he is accepted the ''nicer'' he becomes. When he is young, he might even look as if he is trying to provoke people, but then again, don't we all?

Patrick's positive and even unrealistic approach to life seems to help him remain quite unwounded throughout his life.

Without nothing magical happening, many things that happen meets us in a magical sense. It is nothing but Patrick's point of view to the world.

The line between real and observers reality is smartly drawn and there is a very satisfying amount of smart lines...
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Disappointing feature
Alain English10 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I have rather enjoyed Neil Jordan's films in the past. Things like "Interview With The Vampire" and "In the Company of Wolves" had a lovely surreal quality that appealed to me.

The movie follows the life story of Partick "Kitty" Bergen, a young Irishman abandoned by his mother in the 1960s. Growing up, he develops a penchant for dressing up as a woman, and is shockingly open about sex and sexuality, a quality that rankles with his adopted family and the other inhabitants of Irish village he grows up in. He decides to flee the village to and look for his mother...

Despite a strong central performance from Cillian Murphy as Kitty, not to mention quality turns from all the supporting cast, for me the movie didn't quite work. I found the long biographical structure of the story unnecessary, and I didn't think we needed to go into that much depth about Kitty's background. It would have been more fun if the film focused on his life as an adult. It would have provided the story with more of a centre and made the long running time much shorter.

Furthermore, actors such as Bryan Ferry, Liam Neeson and especially Jordan regular Stephen Rea were woefully underutilised and I would have liked to have seen some more of their characters.

A small disappointment from a film-maker I really admire.
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Yet another bull's eye from N. Jordan
finn_12 May 2006
The - nearly archetypical - story of a guy in drag has been shown so many times before. We have seen people like Robin Williams and Hugo Weaving wearing a skirt and a deep shade of red on their lips. However, I have never seen the theme been brought to me in such ensuring way than in this film.

Superb directing, well written story (although presenting nothing new) and a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y- marvelous acting make this film extremely enjoyable viewing experience.

Mr. Murphy gives an unforgettable performance. I also loved the kid playing young Patrick/Kitten - what a talent! Liam Neeson is always convincing as a wise authoritative figure.

Firstly, for me this movie is a praise for the power of individuality without forgetting the fact that for those walking their own paths there is always a price to pay.

Secondly, it is a search for ones roots.

Optimism, courage, fun, pain; these are the key words for this wonderful movie.
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An Odyssey of a Visual and Emotional Feast!
gradyharp21 April 2006
BREAKFAST ON PLUTO is now on DVD and perhaps that will garner the larger audience it deserves after its scant art house run on the big screen. In every way this is a tender, sensitive, sweet story, full of hope, faith, indefatigable courage and persistence that is embellished by a first class performance by the gifted Cillian Murphy.

Ireland, late 50s early 60s, and a child is left abandoned on the doorstep of the local priest (Liam Neeson). The priest hurriedly places the infant with a foster mother and we watch the little boy Patrick Braden slowly grow into a cross-dressing child with outsider friends, loathed by his adopted mother to the point where he is unable to cope with life as a lie and makes off to London as a transvestite gay man (now going by the name 'Kitten Braden'). He hopes to find his birth mother and his search leads him through the dregs of London, the city that 'swallowed up' his real mother, becoming involved with the seamier side of the city, jailed mistakenly, becoming an apprentice to a magician (Stephen Rea), a cabaret singer, etc until he finally makes the discovery of his beginnings - his true parents - and his journey to find happiness ends sweetly.

The entire cast of this long (over two hours) film is so fine that never for an instant does the pace of the tale let up. The cinematography by Declan Quinn is splendid, the costumes by Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh are some of the best recreations of the 70's on film, and the musical score by Anna Jordan mixes her own creations with the wonderful tunes from the era and the result is brilliantly integrated into the film. Director Neil Jordan adapted the screenplay from Patrick McCabe's fine novel and finds all the magic and makes it visual. But in the long run if we are unable to identify and care about Patrick 'Kitten' Braden the movie would seem silly. Cillian Murphy is such an honest actor (having spent time pre-production living with transvestites about whom he speaks so tenderly in the featurette) and gives a multifaceted, glitteringly fine performance. This is a fun, entertaining, and important film. Highly Recommended for all audiences! Grady Harp
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Enjoyable enough, but nothing special
Paul Martin30 October 2006
I really liked the opening and closing sequences of this film, including the robin dialogue – it added a nice whimsy and set the tone for the film. But at 2 hours and 15 minutes, there was a lot of tedium in between. The story had little coherence and never really engaged me. It just kind of chugged along from one chapter to another. I didn't have a problem with Cillian Murphy's character – it had more to do with the writing of the story.

The revelation by the priest seemed to be straight out of Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas. I generally like Jordan's film, but I didn't find much to like about this one. Others may may find it more entertaining.
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