Agnes Browne (October Films) is a light-hearted good time film. Anjelica Huston (Ever After) who stars as Agnes Browne, also wears another hat as director. A witty and fun flick, the film can be jotted down as a success for Huston in both arenas.
You might expect a story about a woman whose husband died and in the same afternoon is left to raise seven children on a low income to be a tragedy. But, Agnes Browne is an Irish comedy at its best. There’s friendship, there’s sickness, and there’s a beach.
In 1967, Agnes and her best friend Marion (Marion O’Dwyer) sell fruit from their side-by-side carts and gossip about their favorite topic – sex. They also enjoy the company of the other women in the Dublin village, who resemble schoolgirls more closely than adults. Their daily routine allows them ample time to sit around and make jokes with ciggies hanging from their mouths.
That is until Pierre (Arno Chevrier) comes to town. This French restaurateur harbors an obvious interest in Agnes, sending all the other women into hysterics. When he approaches her, the other girls dash off in one embarrassing exit, leaving Agnes and Pierre to awkwardly plan a dinner date.
Huston and O’Dwyer believably portray a friendship that has existed since the beginning of time. Their comedic timing is magical, and there is a level of comfort between the two actresses that usually is experienced only between sisters.
Pierre woos Agnes by taking her to a wonderful, ritzy dinner. Their story is fairy-tale-ish. But as Pierre, Chevrier falls short of a prince. Huston holds up her end, but Chevrier’s energy doesn’t match hers. He comes across as kind of a schmo.
O’Dwyer brilliantly fills the role of the supportive best friend. While she hides a secret from Agnes, she does so out of love for her pal. She never wants to ruin a good time.
And, Agnes Browne is just that – a good time. Debuting as part of the Directors’ Fortnight at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, Agnes Browne invites you to a lovely town with an adorable love story and makes you laugh along the way.