Evelyn
Now here was a joy and a surprise. I was in a spontaneous mood for a movie but didn't feel ready for The Hours yet. (I've come to realize that there are some movies where the big screen is less important to me than the DVD bonus features, but only some.) The rest of the selection at our 12plex seemed dull.

I read the list a few times just to be sure. Dull, dull, dull. Hrm. Dull, dull, dull. Hrm. Dull, dull... okay, I'll bite, what's this Evelyn? Limited engagement? Since when does the Victoria theatre get limited engagements?

I looked on IMDB and saw "Irish" and "Christmas" and "Pierce Brosnan" and, assuming that the last in the list picks good projects now that he's Squire Bond, nodded my head with a "good nuff for short notice" and headed off to the cinema.

Well! What I did not expect in the course of the opening credits was to see Aidan Quinn's name appear. Aidan Quinn? Aidan Quinn! Had we another Playboys on our hands? And what's this? What's this? Stephen Rea? Stephen Rea! Mon dieu, this movie beared seeing twice already.

So I pretty much swooned to the popcorn-prickled floor a few moments later when John Lynch's appeared. Meeeeoooooow. A discreet asexual meow from a distance, I assure you, but still heartfelt and possibly spoken aloud in the darkened theatre.

Which would not have been that odd since there were just the three ladies there including me, all of us of a type, and the one in the middle row made her share of commentary in the right spots. By halfway through I was murmuring my own chuckles and responses. It was companionable. The other woman had been reading a book when I came in. We were definitely a league.

It's a pleasant flick, Evelyn is, and some days I think that between Maeve Binchy, The Playboys, and The Secret of Roan Inish I could tell you anything about 1950s-era Ireland. I don't know if it bears a repeat viewing. Perhaps if someone had been thoughtful enough to ask Gabriel Byrne to join my selkie-haired fantasy cast.

In some ways I think the court scenes could have been more dramatic, but on the other hand I worry that the Irishness and charm may have been lost if things had become that staged. Funny how real drama doesn't seem all that dramatic anymore.

Mostly it was just one of those nice, enjoyable films best viewed without any expectations. I was particularly struck by some of the honesty in the cinematography. That's right, Ireland is not always an oversaturated green, but it's still the Emerald Isle.

Oh, and Brian McGrath (here as journalist Hugh Canning) would make a fine young Peter O'Toole should one ever be needed.

07 March 2003 |



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