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Agnes Browne

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anjelica Huston, Marion O'Dwyer, Ray Winstone
  • Directors: Anjelica Huston
  • Format: NTSC
  • Studio: Alliance Films
  • Release Date: June 7 2005
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009E27GW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,562 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Anjelica Huston meant only to direct this working-class fairy tale, but took on the titular role when the original lead dropped out. Adapted from stand-up comic Brendan O'Carrol's first novel, The Mammy, the story of Agnes Browne takes place in 1960s Dublin, where the newly widowed Browne bravely deals with too little money and too many (seven) kids. She's supported through her troubles by her best friend (Marion O'Dwyer); a goofy-faced, adoring French baker (Arno Chevrier); the aforementioned brood--and her dream of one day meeting Tom Jones (materializing conveniently to belt out "She's a Lady"). Ray Winstone (superb in Gary Oldman's Nil by Mouth) plays local loan shark as nasty ogre, the one rotten spot in a neighborhood so whimsically benign it makes Capra's Bedford Falls look downright unfriendly.

Having grown up in Galway, Huston should be no stranger to Gaelic life. And her first film, Bastard Out of Carolina, showed a willingness to plumb the darkest recesses of the human heart. But Agnes Browne, all unearned sweetness and light, is feel-good soap opera tricked up as an Irishwoman's "feminist" bid for independence. Too often, Huston generates smiles out of quaint-Irish caricature: giggling over "organisms"--orgasms!--Agnes and her benighted pal later wonder whether breast cancer comes from having had two in a lifetime. After a surfeit of "Jaysuses" and pub sing-alongs, you yearn for the sharp comedy of Roddy Doyle's reality-based Dublin stories, such as The Snapper or The Commitments. If you fell for the ethnic hilarity of Waking Ned Devine, you'll love Agnes Browne's Hollywood hokum about an Ireland that never was. --Kathleen Murphy

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on March 6 2002
I picked up the book "The Mammy" at a bookstore on a whim. Flipping through it to make sure it would be appropriate for a young friend, I found myself completely entertained by this woman who despite having 7 children herself, is still charmingly ignorant about "organisms". I had to read sections out loud to my family so they could figure out the reasons for my delighted chuckles. Recently and suddenly widowed, she struggles to make sure her children are taken care of and have pride in themselves. Her challenge to explain life to her children as they enter puberty, poverty and the vulnerability of being a family without an adult male are funny at times, but would be heartbreaking if we did not also feel that Agnes Browne does not WANT us to feel sorry for her or her family.
Only later did I connect this book with an Angelica Huston picture I had heard about but never seen, called "Agnes Browne". Needless to say, I had to watch it.
Initially, it was hard for me to see the patrician Ms Huston in such a downtrodden role, but eventually, I began to see her AS Agnes Browne.
Agnes' relationship with her friend Marion is one of the true great friendships of sisterhood, making it all the more hilarious in the car scene and all the more heartbreaking at the end of it.
If I had to pick at this movie at all, I would pick at the lessened extent to which her children are just as much victims of being poor and fatherless. And I was so hoping that Harry Webb (AKA Cliff Richard) would make an appearance. In the movie, Tom Jones comes to fulfill the lifelong dream of Agnes Browne. A most deserving heroine.
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Format: DVD
"Agnes Browne" is a genuine charmer, a simple, but heartwarming comedy/drama directed by and starring the magnificent Anjelica Huston. Set in a lower class Dublin neighborhood in 1967, the story centers around Agnes, an attractive woman whose husband has just died leaving her sole provider for her seven children, ranging in age from early adolescence to diaper-wetting toddler. With the love of her best friend, Marion, to support her (this almost seems to be more of a love story between them than between Agnes and Pierre, the local Frenchman who falls for her), Agnes learns to cope with financial set backs, the neighborhood extortionist, the growing pains of her children and, most tragically, the terminal illness of someone very dear to her heart.
"Agnes Browne" could have emerged as a heavy-handed wallow in tragedy and bathos, but those involved both in front of and behind the cameras have managed to maintain an air of breezy likeability even in the film's darkest moments. If there is a criticism to be leveled against the movie, it would probably be that the film is actually - at a mere 92-minute running time - a bit too short. We occasionally feel we are being rushed from one event to another without time for proper reflection. Moreover, a number of the characters - prime among them Pierre and several of the children - tend to get lost in the shuffle. As the silent, sensitive and understanding merchant who woos and wins Agnes, Pierre simply seems too much like the "ideal man" stereotype who always seems to be just waiting in the wings the moment one of these attractive but harried movie widows/divorcees is starting life anew out on her own.
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Format: DVD
In Dublin, 1967, a woman with seven children is suddenly faced with the travails of widowhood in "Agnes Browne," directed by and starring Anjelica Huston. After the unexpected death of her husband, life becomes something less than a picnic for Agnes (Huston), what with children ranging in age from two to fourteen and no assets to speak of. She keeps her head above water and some food on the table by selling fruit at an outdoor market, but makes barely enough to make ends meet, while she awaits her widow's pension from her late husband's union. But even when and if it comes, she realizes it won't be enough on which to live. It's a bleak state of affairs for Agnes, who luckily has a dear friend, Marion (Marion O'Dwyer), who is always there for her; and with friendship, a sense of humor, and the dream of seeing Tom Jones in concert, it's enough to keep her going as she manages to take it all one day at a time. There are poignant moments in this character driven, heartwarming film, as well as some funny ones; Huston has done an outstanding job of creating a mood and an atmosphere that brings the Irish working class vividly to life, and she populates her landscape with characters who are not only real, but incredibly rich in their humanity. She captures the heart of Agnes and the others with an emotional depth that draws in the viewer and allows the empathy through which an intimate bond with the characters is established. And they quickly become more than just characters in a story; these are people you come to care about, and when something bad or untoward happens to any of them, you feel it just as deeply as they. Huston gives a terrific performance as Agnes, imbuing her with both a strength and vulnerability that make her real.Read more ›
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