Agnes Browne

Sometimes actors like to take the helm of a movie to highlight their talents in a showy role. Hollywood wags call them “vanity projects.” Robert Duvall, for example, became a

director to give himself the part of a lifetime in 1998’s The Apostle. Anjelica Huston (The Addams Family) produced and directed Agnes Browne, based upon the novel The Mammy by Brendan O’Carroll. She plays a working-class Irish widow with seven children who must deal with a thuggish loan shark, streetwise kids, and long hours as a fruit vendor. Although it may sound like a downer, most of the film play as a lighthearted, sentimental comedy. Huston grabs the role like a hound clamps a postman’s pant leg, showing an infectious, gleeful vigor. Irish actress Marion O’Dwyer matches Huston, as Agnes’ dotty best friend. The film’s pacing is another matter altogether. Huston sometimes lets her film get mired in the numerous subplots, few of which provide satisfying results. As a slice-of-life character study, however, Agnes Browne works, thanks to the director’s thoughtful casting choices. (R) Rating: 6

Categories: Movies