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Circle of Friends
Movies play a great role in our lives. We remember more about the films than how much we liked or hated them. We remember the good times we had with special friends.
When I first came to Washington, I lived in a house with three other people who I never met before. In hindsight, that was probably crazy, but I was lucky enough to find three people who weren't axe murderers. One of them, became a very close friend.
One Friday night, we didn't have anything to do and she suggested that we watch this movie she had just purchased called, Circle of Friends. She told me that it starred this amazing new female actress in her first feature film performance. The actress was awarded the Chicago Film Critics Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer after she gained 25 pounds to star in the film. Best of all, my friend warned me that I was going to fall head over heels for the sweet character she played. That young, promising actress was Minnie Driver.
Driver plays Benny, a young Irish lass in Ireland, 1957. It is a time of social change in this religious country. While the young teenagers have been brought up to believe in chastity, their biological urges are pushing them towards other behaviors. Benny works at her father's store, but has enrolled in the local university with her two best friends - Nan (Saffron Burrows), the most beautiful girl in all the land, and Eve (Geraldine O'Rawe), a young orphan girl who has been raised by nuns and must count on the kindness of a local family to pay for her college tuition.
At university, the three start to explore the wonders of love, and Benny falls deeply in love with the big man on campus, Jack (Chris O'Donnell). She fears that she is not attractive enough for Jack, but something deep inside compels her to chase after him.
Will Jack return her affections or will he chase after another? Will Benny be forced to marry the creepy guy her parents like?
If you are looking for a good female friendly movie, this is the one for you this weekend. Some of the film is overly naïve in its handling of the big decision the ladies face (should we have sex to get/keep our men?). However, it has enough heart and a fantastic performance by Driver that will keep even the most hardened and cynical among us interested.
Directed by Pat O'Connor
Written by Andrew Davies
Based on the novel by Maeve Binchy
Minnie Driver . Benny
Chris O'Donnell . Jack
Geraldine O'Rawe .. Eve
Saffron Burrows . Nan
Alan Cumming Sean
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