THE ALL-IRELAND TRADITIONAL MUSIC COMPETITION ATTRACTS THE BEST MUSICIANS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. AS THE MUSICIANS MAKE THEIR WAY TOWARDS THE COMPETITION, TROUBLE REARS ITS HEAD. AT THE HEART OF THE ADVERSITY LIES THE V... more »ENGEFUL INTERVENTIONS OF TWO ESTRANGED BROTHERS FROM OPPOSING BANDS.« less
A delightful picture of modern Irish vs traditional and the family feuds.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Thomas D. (lacrosseboy) from LIBERTYVILLE, IL Reviewed on 11/30/2007...
Fun and great ending...
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Wee Sparkling Film from Ireland
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some films may be predictable, with minimal storyline and action sequences and still be a hit. THE BOYS AND GIRL FROM COUNTY CLARE hits that description on target. This is an emerald of a jaunty little Irish tale that thoroughly entertains with a fine cast and superb Irish music and leaves the audience wholly satisfied - AND has a fine social comment!
The setting is County Clare where the International Irish Music festival is at hand. For years John-Joe McMahon (Bernard Hill) and his little band have won the ceili (Irish dance music) band competition. Members of his hometown orchestra include young Anne (Andrea Corr) and her unmarried grumpy piano-playing mother Maisie (Charlotte Bradley). Word comes round that John-Joe's long estranged brother Jimmy (Colm Meaney) has a band from Liverpool, a band that includes Liverpudlian types including young and handsome flautist Teddy (Shaun Evans) and is aimed in the direction of the Festival to compete. In fine Irish tradition the two mutually angry brothers try to sabotage each other's appearance, but alas they both come face to face in the competition. With Jimmy's arrival we discover that Maisie's negative outlook comes from the fact that Jimmy is the one who wantonly got her pregnant and Anne is Jimmy's daughter. Maisie is forced to admit to Anne her betrayal of ancestry news and the mother/daughter relationship is strained to the breaking point.
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, September 05"
Irish Music at its Best!
Michael Meredith | St. Louis, MO United States | 08/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brother against brother is the overarching theme of this gem of a movie, but the driving force throughout is its music. I've always enjoyed Irish music, but until watching this film, I had never heard of a ceili band. Now I'll be on the lookout for a CD or two.
Oh yeah, the brother against brother thing? It's a conflict that's contested through music, in this case the annual Ceili Band Contest. Two brothers, John Joe, the older one stayed on the farm in Ireland, while Jimmy left for Liverpool shortly after getting his girlfriend pregnant. After 26 years of estrangement, Jimmy returns to the ceili competition with his band, hoping to interrupt the two year championship reign of John Joe's band. Avoiding the fray thus far is a third brother Padjo, a missionary priest off in Africa. At least we think Padjo has been avoiding the fray.
John Joe (Bernard Hill from the Lord of the Rings series) is a man at peace with himself and his music, although not so much at peace that he can't respond to the imminent arrival of his sibling's band with a delaying dirty trick or two. His band includes the scorned girlfriend of his brother, Maisie, and her daughter, Ann (luminously played by Andrea Corr of The Corrs musical group).
Jimmy (Colm Meaney from The Commitments and The Snapper, two other excellent Irish movies) has led a materially prosperous life in Liverpool that's been somewhat emotionally bereft; as evidenced by his testy attitude and his multiple ex-wives. His band features a mix of old pro musicians along with some young talent that provokes his ire with an occasional foray into jazz.
The bands serve as musical Montagues and Capulets, as Ann meets and falls in love with Teddy (Shaun Evans). Ann has never met her father, and Maisie would have never come to the competition had she known that Jimmy would be there.
Well then, brotherly conflict, an embittered fallen woman of a certain age, a young woman conflicted about the father she never knew, and young lovers from different factions of a competition... is that enough to keep your interest?
To be honest though, you could almost ignore the successful efforts of a marvelous cast and a great story that is well told, because the music is fantastic! I haven't felt this good since I saw "Brassed Off" (a similar movie about a brass band competition England). And as John Joe remarks at one point, "if you have the music... you're never alone." "
G. Newby | Memphis, TN United States | 10/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having an Irish film without Colm Meaney in it would be somewhat like having a Harry Potter book with no mention of Hogwarts. It just can't be done. That being said, the ubiquitous Meaney is both talented and charming, the Emerald Isle's version of Gene Hackman, only a little more discriminating in the roles he accepts. Here, the actor is as likeable as always, even if the character he portrays is not.
The story involves two estranged brothers and the woman who came between them crossing paths at an Irish national music competition, where each brother does his best to deprive the other of the trophy. The story is predictable and somewhat formulaic, but that still doesn't get in the way of its charm. The film goes in the direction you expect it to, yet somehow its development seems very natural. The story's familiarity is something of a comfort. Here music serves as a bridge between people, and old animosities give way to newfound respect. Love blossoms and then finds a way to overcome its obstacles.
There's lots of good music and good acting here, and plenty of charming Irish scenery to boot. For lovers of Irish music, the film is worth watching for that alone. As for the acting, Colm Meaney and Bernard Hill come across as Irish Everymen, giving the film a kind of universal quality that helps it transcend its limited scope and setting. This is a film that just about anyone can relate to, and the charming music and bittersweet tale make it that much easier to embrace."
Take a Trip To County Clare, In this soon to be Classic.
SeŠn Curran | Oakland California. | 04/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The traditional music of Ireland has told a many good stories. Stories of Struggle, loss, immigration, joy, optimism and . . . SIBLING RIVALRY?!. In John Irving's "The Boys and Girl From County Clare" we are introduced to two brothers who spend their whole lives in competition over outstanding musical ablility. The fuel to their fire burns higher when they both enter into a Ceili music competition held in Clare for "Best Ceili Band".
Originally Titled under "The Great Ceili War" [pre production name] 'County Clare' is about an hour and a half's worth of upbeat Irish tunes, loveable characters and lots of laughs. It stars some of Ireland's best known actors [Colm Meaney, Bernard Hill]as well as a few newbies [Shaun Evans and Andrea Corr]. Our standout star of the film is obviously Andrea Corr [Singer, The Corrs]who plays the role of Anne, a naive fiddler who dreams of a life beyond her controlling "Spinster" mother. Her search for love and curiosity for the outside world leads her to rebel against all that she knows and winds her into the hands of love.
My personal reccomendation of the film is this. If you love Ireland, if you love Irish culture, If you love comedy and most importantly if you love Irish Ceili music; The Boys and Girl From County Clare is just the right film for you. Although it takes no prior knowlege of Irish culture or of Irish music to love this film, it is so well filmed, so well told and so well produced that no matter where you live, you too will feel as though you are in Clare alongside our cast. I give this film 5 stars for original characters, unique acting, wonderful storytelling and outrageous music. I'd reccomend experiencing this film in a theater if you can get the chance, simply because it's magical. But if you cannot :) buy the DVD like I am going to in July."
Andrea Corr and Irish Culture Fans Are In for a Treat.
Reviews No More | 09/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ever heard of a Ceili band competition? Well, if you check this movie out, you will be treated to excellent Irish music beyond your wildest dreams, and it may make you a fan of the genre if you already aren't. This is a very funny and entertainingly romantic story of two feuding brothers (Colm Meany and Bernard Hill) who challenge each other through their bands, one of which consists of a woman Maisie (Charlotte Bradley) whom Jimmy (Meany) had gotten pregnant and left behind years ago and the daughter he at first doesn't know is his(Andrea Corr).
Meanwhile, young love is blooming between Anne (Corr), and the flute player from her father's band, Teddy (Shaun Evans). This movie is absolute fun from start to finish, full of great jokes, wonderful Irish music, and the lovely, picturesque scenery of Northern Ireland. The conflicts of this movie are worked out with tact and no syrupy goo like so many other romantic comedies, which guys will appreciate, to which I must also add that this is NOT a chick flick! It's a good time for one and all. Congratulations to Andrea Corr for finally landing her largest role in a movie yet, and I hope to see her land even bigger parts in the future.
***That reminds me, why is the lady from Canada's review posted up here twice? I would not have noticed if she hadn't made such a point of being so mean to Andrea!***"