Circle of Friends is the new film starring Chris O'Donnell (Scent of a Woman), based on the endearing novel of the same name written by Maeve Binchy. Filmed in Ireland by director Pat O'Connor (Cal, the January Man), the film offers lovely scenery and a glimpse at the innocence and charm of Ireland in 1957.
While the film will particularly captivate Binchy readers and lovers of things Irish, everyone will relate to the thrills and angst the young characters experience as they take their first steps toward adulthood.
The circle of friends referred to in the title consists of Benny Eve and Nan - three young women who have grown up in the small village of Knockglen and who enter their freshman year of college together in Dublin. Benny (Minnie Driver), a self-professed plain-Jane, attracts the big man on campus, Jack (O'Donnell), with her warmth and sense of self.
The boyishly handsome Chris O'Donnell takes his first crack at a romantic leading role with this film. To effectively play the part of an Irish student and rugby player, O'Donnell was groomed by dialect coach Brendan Gunn and fight coordinator Marin Grace. He has succeeded on both counts, delivering a nice Irish brogue and all the right rugby moves.
My only complaint would be in the choice of endings. I felt the manner in which the film ended undermined the real progression made by the characters. Despite this, I loved the film and recommend it to everyone from young teens to adults, especially young girls who will easily relate to this timeless tale of love and friendship
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