The Boys & Girl from County Clare (2003) starring Bernard Hill, Andrea Corr, Colm Meaney, Shaun Evans, Charlotte Bradley, Patrick Bergin, Frank Kelly directed by John Irvin Movie Review

The Boys & Girl from County Clare (2003)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Bernard Hill and Colm Meaney in The Boys & Girl from County Clare (2003)

The Charm of the Ceili

To be honest "The Boys & Girl from County Clare" is not a very good movie but ironically if you like a bit of Irish charm and Irish music it will make you feel good. And in many ways that is the purpose of it, to make you feel good be it the music from the Ceili bands, the typical rivalry between Irish brothers or the sweet romance between Anne and Teddy. But if the charm doesn't get you, if you don't smile at some stereotypical Irish humour or tap your feet to one of the songs "The Boys & Girl from County Clare" is going to feel slow and dull because there isn't much of a storyline.

So "The Boys & Girl from County Clare" starts with footage from 1926 as a father sits there in the kitchen playing fiddle with his three sons. It then jumps 40 years and we have Jimmy returning to Ireland from Liverpool with his Ceili band and the same time in Ireland is John Joe with his Ceili band. And it doesn't take a genius to realise that these are two of the brothers from 1926 and we have a case of sibling rivalry going on. Now this is where we have a bit of stereotypical Irish movie humour because being rivals you have John Joe trying to prevent Jimmy and his band getting to register for the music competition whilst Jimmy does the same, hiring two men to stop John Joe. And to be honest most of the first half simmers around this rivalry until at some point they sit down for a drink together and talk over old issues whilst still winding each other up.

Andrea Corr as Anne in The Boys & Girl from County Clare (2003)

At the same time we have Anne who plays fiddle in John Joe's band who happens to be the daughter of Maisie and who has never met her father. Well it is no spoiler to tell you that Jimmy is Anne's father it is that obvious and that is part of the cause of the rivalry between John Joe and Jimmy. But that also leads to other issues as Maisie is protective of Anne because what happened to her 20 something years earlier when Jimmy left. Throw in a romance between Anne and Teddy who plays flute in Jimmy's band and that is the movie, which is all very obvious.

But the thing about "The Boys & Girl from County Clare" is that the storyline is so obvious that in many ways the movie doesn't really feel like it is about it, instead being all about a feeling. That feeling starts with the humour of Jimmy being uptight and wanting to beat John Joe in the music competition it expands to some typical quirky Irish humour as the rivalry between brothers involves sabotage. And then alongside all this typical quirky Irish movie humour you have the music which if you enjoy Ceili music it will have your feet tapping. The trouble is that if you don't enjoy what is stereotypical humour and the Ceili music you are going to be bored because with the storyline being obvious it is also quite slow going.

Now whether you enjoy it or hate it there are a couple of good things about "The Boys & Girl from County Clare" and those are Bernard Hill as John Joe and Colm Meaney as Jimmy. Both Hill and Meaney create fun characters that bicker and banter at each other in a typical but amusing way. Sadly the enjoyment doesn't extend to Andrea Corr as Anne because whilst she certainly is beautiful she not only looks ill at ease but also over made up. And whilst I would love to say the Irish setting is beautiful I can't because some of the movie was filmed on the Isle of Man.

What this all boils down to is that "The Boys & Girl from County Clare" is a typical charming Irish movie with quirky characters, stereotypical Irish humour and some lovely music. But if you don't enjoy the music or the humour it is slow going to the point that there is little to offer you.