An Everlasting Piece Movie Review

The story behind An Everlasting Piece is more interesting than anything in the movie itself. The Irish screenwriter and star of the movie, Barry McEvoy, came up with the idea -- about two Irish barbers creating a toupee coup in Northern Ireland -- from his own experiences. According to the press notes, McEvoy grew up as the son of a barber who did his own stint as a hairpiece salesman, and McEvoy's character, Colm, is loosely based on his father, who told his son stories of his adventures selling wigs to both Catholics and Protestants, despite the tensions that almost made his own hair fall out.

An Everlasting Piece just feels good. It isn't a great movie; there is no deep, satisfying reward for watching it. But the characters, dialogue, and story form a charismatic relationship with the audience. This is certainly not Barry Levinson's best work to date. He does, however, direct McEvoy's script with the right attitude. Levinson doesn't take the circumstances too seriously -- these are hairpiece salesman after all -- but he doesn't go over the top in a quirky comic tone either. There aren't any corny bald jokes: The movie is smart enough not to waste it's time with lame humor about hair thinning.

An Everlasting Piece is set against the blustery backdrop of Belfast in the 1980s. Two barber friends, Colm (McEvoy) and George (Brian F. O'Byrne) are working as barbers at an asylum for the insane. After meeting a wealthy patient (Billy Connolly) who turns out to be the ex-owner of the only hairpiece supplier in the area, they get the idea of opening a toupee company in hopes of striking it rich. Unfortunately, another greedy clan gets the same idea and opens a rival company called Toupee or Not Toupee.

The story eventually evolves into a competition between the two companies, with whoever sells the most hairpieces by midnight on Christmas Eve standing to earn a large sum of money. Although the story is thin in some areas, and sounds quite formulaic, the film is anything but predictable, finally spitting out a message about friendship and loyalty without being half as preachy of many preacht dramas on the market today.

An Everlasting Piece has trouble developing the religious aspects of its story, but that's okay because you don't really care about that part of the plot. This is an arguable point, but I didn't think the Catholic and Protestant nuggets served much of a purpose in the film other than to develop an atmosphere and set up a few conflicts between the two main characters. Although I doubt it was intentional, McEvoy does a great thing by keeping those plot points down low, keeping the film from degenerating into a West Side Story ripoff.

Hats off to the Irish.


Comments

An Everlasting Piece Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2000

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