John Goldsmith

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Agnes Browne Review


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I'm always skeptical when I see a Hollywood diva trying to look haggard, poor, and malnourished in a film. Everybody knows that in real life they all have personal trainers and special diets along with the best technology has to offer in keeping themselves looking young and beautiful. So in the first five minutes of Anjelica Huston's latest production, Agnes Browne, when her husband has died and left behind seven young children in a poor area of Dublin, Ireland, the first thing I said to myself was, "There's no way that a woman going through this kind of hardship can look that good."

Set in the year 1967, the film follows the struggles of Agnes Brown, (Anjelica Huston) a recent widow battling to keep her irregularly large family intact (six boys and a girl, ranging in age from 2 to 14). In order to give her husband the funeral he deserves, Agnes must borrow money from the menacing loan shark Mr. Billy (Ray Winstone). As she attempts to pay him back in weekly installments, he terrorizes her and her small children at every street corner. To make ends meet, Agnes sells fruit and vegetables on the street along with her best friend Marion Monks (Marion O'Dwyer). The two are inseparable and Marion is, ironically enough, Anjelica's guardian angel, as she brightens Agnes life and helps her in times of desperate need. When Pierre (Arno Chevrier, a Gerard Depardieu look-alike) comes along in the form of a neighborhood French baker and takes an interest in Agnes, sparks fly as she tries to forge a personal life of her own with the possibility of newfound love, all while dealing with the nuisance of seven hellion children.

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