Circle Of Friends Movie Review
As the story opens, the three characters are entering their freshmen year at a Dublin college. Eve (Geraldine O'Rawe) is an orphan, living with the nuns in a convent. Nan (Saffron Burrows) is a gorgeous and wicked socialite with ulterior motives. And Benny (Minnie Driver) is a Plain Jane heroine, plagued by overbearing parents and a trollish suitor (Cumming), and is still trying to overcome her adolescent awkwardness. Chris O'Donnell plays Jack, "the cutest boy in school" who becomes the eventual point of contention in the story, developing a deep love for Benny, but perpetually confused and torn between those competing for his affections and attempts to control his future.
Overflowing with sexual tension and overtones, Circle of Friends pits against each other the issues of religion and personal freedom, family and love, wealth and happiness. Predictably, it lands on the more modern and liberated viewpoints regarding these issues, and in the end, everything neatly ties up into a rather typical coming-of-age story that we've seen countless times before. I was expecting something a little more original like Dead Poets Society, but ended up getting another reworking of an old story.
Excellent acting by all the players and the film's unique change of setting make Circle of Friends a worthwhile picture, but it suffers from a painfully slow pace and no real originality in its message. If you go, bring a date and a box of tissues.