Circle of Friends
is a 1995 film directed by Irish
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...
filmmaker Pat O'Connor
Pat O'Connor, born in Ardmore, County Waterford, is an Irish film director.In 1982, O'Connor won a Jacob's Award for his direction of the RTÉ TV adaptation of William Trevor's short story, Ballroom of Romance starring Cyril Cusack and Brenda Fricker. It was shot near the village of Ballycroy,...
and based on the novel of the same name
Circle of Friends is a 1990 novel by Maeve Binchy. It is set in Dublin and the fictitious town of Knockglen in rural Ireland during the 1950s, and centres around a group of university students.- Characters :...
written by Maeve Binchy
Maeve Binchy is an Irish novelist, newspaper columnist and speaker. Educated at University College Dublin, she worked as a teacher then a journalist at The Irish Times and later became a writer of novels and short stories.Many of her novels are set in Ireland, dealing with the tensions between...
Set in 1950s Ireland, the film focuses on the experiences of Bernadette "Benny" Hogan and her two friends, Eve Malone and Nan Mahon. They are characterized early on in childhood, during their first communion: Benny is the beloved and well-fed only child, Eve the orphan raised by nuns and Nan is poor but destined to be defined by her beauty. Skip to six years later: Nan has moved on to university a year earlier and Benny and Eve are set to follow.
Eve's education is financed by the local wealthy Westward family, her father's employers until his death. Eve boards at a nunnery while Benny must commute daily between home and Dublin, her parents being loath to let her go. They would prefer she marry the loathsome and creepy Sean Walsh, her father's faithful employee at his tailor shop.
Once in Dublin the two girls reconnect with a mature and sophisticated Nan who is quite aware of her bewitching effect on the opposite sex. Benny eventually falls in love with Jack Foley, a doctor's son expected to follow in his father's footsteps though not quite convinced that this is the career for him. The girls visit their home town and Nan becomes involved with Simon Westward. While Benny is able to resist a physical relationship, Nan is not and believes that Simon truly loves her. In the meantime when Benny's father dies, she leaves university to help her mother run the business and Sean Walsh attempts to woo her into marriage.
Nan becomes pregnant and Simon leaves her, offering to pay her off with a large check to get an abortion. A desperate Nan runs into a drunk Jack at a bar and she lures him into having sex with her to force his hand into marrying her. Jack does what he believes is the honorable thing and asks Nan to marry him. He tells Benny about the baby and the engagement and she is devastated. Eve finds out the truth and confronts Nan at a party and her duplicity comes to light.
That night, when Eve confronts Nan, Nan cuts her hand on a broken window at Eve's cottage. As he attends to her wounds, Jack realizes that he has found his calling in medicine. Nan recognizes that she cannot raise her child in a marriage based on lies and calls off her engagement with Jack.
Jack escorts Nan to the train station and she asks that he and Benny forgive her for her desperate actions. Nan heads to England to have her baby (or to have an abortion) and onto a new beginning. Curiosity gets the best of her and Benny snoops around Sean's living area above the tailor shop. Sean finds Benny in his room and attempts to rape her. She overcomes him and in the process finds the money that he has embezzled from her family for the duration of his employment. She demands that he leave, and he does, declaring that she is destined to be a spinster for the rest of her life.
Jack finally goes to visit Benny and win her back. She is unwilling to let him off so easily and she tells him it will take quite a bit of time for him to gain her trust again. He demonstrates his patience and humility and Benny finally relents and accepts his love and proposal of marriage.
- Minnie Driver
Minnie Driver is an English actress and singer-songwriter. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, as well as for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for her work in the television series The Riches.- Early life...
as Bernadette "Benny" Hogan
- Chris O'Donnell
Christopher Eugene "Chris" O'Donnell is an American actor. He has played Robin in two Batman films, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, Charlie Simms in Scent of a Woman, Finn Dandridge in Grey's Anatomy, Peter Garrett in Vertical Limit, and more recently, Jack McAuliffe in The Company. O'Donnell...
as Jack Foley
- Geraldine O'Rawe
-Selected filmography:* Circle of Friends * Some Mother's Son * The Harpist * Adoration -External links:...
as Eve Malone
- Saffron Burrows
Saffron Dominique Burrows is an English actress and former fashion model, who starred as Det. Serena Stevens on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Lorraine Weller on Boston Legal.-Early life:...
as Nan Mahon
- Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming, OBE is a Scottish stage, television and film actor, singer, writer, director, producer and author. His roles have included the Emcee in Cabaret, Boris Grishenko in GoldenEye, Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, Mr. Elton in Emma, and Fegan Floop in the Spy Kids trilogy...
as Sean Walsh
- Colin Firth
SirColin Andrew Firth, CBE is a British film, television, and theatre actor. Firth gained wide public attention in the 1990s for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice...
as Simon Westward
- Aidan Gillen
Aidan Gillen is an Irish stage and screen actor and television presenter. He is known in Ireland for his role in Love/Hate, in the UK for his role in Queer as Folk and in the US for his role in HBO's television series The Wire in which he plays Tommy Carcetti and for his role in Game of Thrones as...
as Aidan Lynch
- Mick Lally
Michael 'Mick' Lally was an Irish stage, film and television actor. He departed from a teaching career for acting during the 1970s...
as Dan Hogan
- Britta Smith as Mrs. Hogan
- Ciarán Hinds
Ciarán Hinds is an Irish film, television and stage actor. He has built up a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high profile films as Road to Perdition, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will Be Blood and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. His television roles include...
as Professor Flynn
- Tony Doyle as Dr. Foley