Breakfast on Pluto (review)

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To say that this poignant, hilarious tale of a tender-tough gay Irishman is Neil Jordan’s (The Good Thief) most lighthearted film to date is, admittedly, akin to calling the Troubles the nicest internecine war the Irish have ever gotten themselves into. But there we are: the story of flamboyant Patrick, who’s been out since before he could talk and delights in extremely feminine crossdressing, is aflutter with whimsical touches including a Greek chorus of bluejays whose twittering commentary is subtitled for the birdsong-impaired, and a peek into Patrick’s vivid imagination as he fantasizes about how his priest father (Liam Neeson: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) managed to seduce his mother. Of course, this is one of those crying-on-the-inside comedies, and Cillian Murphy’s (Red Eye) sublime performance as Patrick is as touching as it is funny, his abandoned child strengthened by the abuse he suffers as a kid to become a resilient young man, if one whose desperate search for the unconditional love he was denied as a child gets him into constant trouble in a world rife with unreasoning intolerance and hatred. Still, the sweetly droll turn by Stephen Rea (Evelyn), as one of Patrick’s lovers, is a knowingly ironic allusion to his performance in Jordan’s The Crying Game, one that serves to highlight how much cheerier a film this genuinely is.

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