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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
"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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent story line, but too much strong langauge.A greqat story about two really good friends.Published 21 months ago by Chevy Smith
My husband and myselft both enjoyed the story line but found it had to understand the accents at times.
Angela Huston did and excellent job .
It was well acted. It gave the whole store in one movie of Mrs Browns Boys. Loved it very much.Published on Oct. 3 2013 by Diane
What a great movie! It really depicts life as it is and to watch how the community goes through the good and bad times when they live on limited means. Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2013 by Rhonda Evans
i first bought this as a video years ago, but i gave it to someone , and never got it back,i came here (to nz ) 47yrs. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2013 by helen
I saw this movie on tape ,from a very late night t v movie, on the showcase channel, we borrowed it from a friend who taped it , and watched it every night for a week, we related... Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by James L. Crawley