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  • The title has a romantic comedy resonance (`When Harry Met Sally') and, true, this is a romantic comedy, but it's different – Irish, in fact. It has an edgy character that seems to say it's just that little bit more dangerous to laugh here. The opening scene is of a man in pouring rain lying face down in a Dublin gutter and a voice over saying `it all started six months ago'. Brendan (Peter McDonald), history and English schoolteacher and film buff, best described as afraid of life, meets Trudy (Fiona Montgomery), blonde, bouncing, full of life, and Brendan is swept along. Trudy, however, has a secret…at first Brendan thinks she might be the Rathmines castrator, but she turns out to be a professional thief. Naturally Brendan gets involved, and the climactic caper is an attempt to steal computers from Brendan's school, which Brendan justifies on luddite grounds - the kids need to learn how to think without machines – a chalk is the only technology a good teacher needs, says Brendan.

    Despite the rain, this film, written by Roddy Doyle and directed by first-time director Kieron Walsh, is really a very sunny piece. As Brendan becomes more and more distracted, his elderly headmaster summons him in for a talk, only to tell him not to worry about the complaints. The spirit of rebellion infects Brendan's mother, who starts to use words you don't expect Irish mothers to use. Brendan's sister and husband (`middle class and proud of it') turn out to be a bit kinky as well.

    Peter McDonald (a younger Jeremy Irons) is perfect as the po-faced Brendan, and Fiona Montgomery manages to carry off a rather unlikely character with great panache. The minor roles are filled with good performances also and the whole cast blend in beautifully. Thank goodness the producers didn't try (or couldn't afford) to cast big names.

    There are all sorts of references to Hollywood classics and non-film buffs will be driven mad by their film friends digging them in the ribs with an excited `oh that's from `Sunset Boulevard', or `African Queen' ` or wherever. The film buffery is sent up too, with unexpected twists been given to some great scenes of the past (have you ever wondered for instance what happened at the end of `Singing in the Rain' after Gene Kelly throws his feet in the air?). It's all good fun on its own terms and the `what happened to whoever' sequence at the end is one of the funniest of its kind.
  • Quiet, self-absorbed teacher Brendan (Peter McDonald) meets outgoing thief Trudy (Flora Montgommery) and, following the old maxim 'opposites atract', they fall madly in love. She introduces him to the intricacies of breaking and entering, while he introduces her to the beauty of sung hymnal music.

    The film is a veritable reel of visual and oral quotes, which you must be (like screenwriter Roddy Doyle) a real film fan in order to get them all. However, the constant quotation does not get in the way of the story, which is by turns funny and tragic.

    Good story, lovely accents, fantastic external shots around Ireland and some nice views around Dublin make this film a genial and pleasent way to spend an evening. 7/10.
  • For his first original screenplay Roddy Doyle subverts the romantic comedy genre and still manages to write a film that appeals to both subversives and rom com fans.

    Roddy Doyle was a teacher who loved music and film, just like Brendan, but it would be a mistake - and libellous - to read this as autobiography. In a typical opposites attract tale Brendan is an innocent devoted to singing hymns and cinema, while Trudy is a not-so-innocent with a mysterious night life.

    This film is as much of a love story with cinema as it is a love story between Brendan and Trudy. The opening echoes Sunset Boulevard's opening and other films also feature - although budgetary constraints meant that Doyle's wish list of films to license couldn't be granted. The quoting of films both visually and verbally has the potential to get on your nerves but here it is wonderfully and wittily done and always relevant to the story. Although, to be honest, the A Bout De Souffle sequence does push it just a bit too far. Watch out also for fake film posters and titles in the background which give a sly hilarious comment about film.

    The eponymous leads are wonderfully played by Peter McDonald and Flora Montgomery and according to the director he had to argue to the financiers to allow Montgomery to have the role as she wasn't famous enough. If a brilliant screenplay by one of the world's most popular writers needs stars to get it made then the world has indeed gone mad.

    When Brendan Met Trudy is very funny and has a good compelling story that will surprise. It is highly recommended.
  • Roddy Doyle has a well deserved reputation as a fine author, whose (very funny) books are grounded firmly in acute social observation. It's therefore something of a surprise that for this, his first film script, he chose to knock out such a whimsical comedy, packed with daft jokes, wacky plot, knowing film references, and occasional moments of pertinent satire. Realised with brio by director and cast, the result is a film that is flimsy, unpretentious, and hilarious. Watch it and cheer yourself up!
  • I thought that this film from start to finish was just great fun. It was a simple romance with many far from simple situations. It had a great unique brand of humor that many Irish films possess. Its take off on many classic movies were great, my favorite was A Bout De Souffle , then breaking into Irish and the John Wayne thought the doorway scene. I don't think that Roddy Doyle tried too hard, he just seems to let it flow. Its fun, try it.
  • Watched this on BBC2 last night.Still chuckling on Sunday morning.Completely square,choir-singing young school teacher meets dishy,wacky ,feisty blonde.Highlight of the film is when Brendan sings Iggy Pop's "The Passenger" to his classroom full of bemused kids.Well he does sing it in an over the top operatic style somewhat like a drunk singing "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen".Superb.References to famous films abound from steals from "The Producers" to scenes appropriated from art house French films with sub-titles in Gaelic!Do yourself a favour and find a copy of this film.
  • Shy secondary school teacher Brendan is very much a mother's boy who sings in a choir. Out in the pub one night Brendan gets talking to Trudy, a lively young woman and he is amazed when she agrees to go to the cinema with him. When he gets stood up he goes after her and the two go out to the cinema then back to her place. As their relationship grows Brendan begins to suspect that Trudy's late night walks are not what they seem and he gets involved in her nocturnal world.

    In two minds over whether to bother with it or not, I decided to give this a go on the strength that many Irish comedies have surprised me by how different they have been from what I expected. I was happy to see that this continued that trend by mixing a weird romance with Father Ted style humour. This humour is best seen in the little things on the side such as the news on TV reporting `an American official said today that Ireland is great' and things like that. On top of this, because Brendan is a big movie fan we also have lots of movie references (none subtle mind you).

    Where the film gets a little heavier is the second half where the movie leans into the relationship side rather than the offbeat comedy side. The film lurches a little more as it become serious and it takes a lot of the energy out of it, spoiling the mix. Generally though it is different enough to carry it through the weak spots where the plot suddenly starts to do something of consequence. It really is only in the second half where the plot tries to do something and really falls apart – major plot lines are simply lost (the Nigerian?) until a tidy final credits summary and much of it doesn't make much sense.

    McDonald is good as Brendan, shy when he has to be but still shy underneath when he is trying to come out of his shell. Montgomery is lively but her character is not so strong as she is only really noise and energy. The support cast are all pretty good and are rewarded with having the side-jokes to make away from the responsibility of carrying the main plot – Mclynn of Father Ted fame is probably the most recognisable face.

    Overall this works when it comes to the Father Ted style side jokes but is weaker when it comes done to the business of the actual plot. Forced to have something of consequence happen the film goes off a little bit and loses it's sense of humour a bit. Having said that this is still funny enough to justify a watch despite some plotting weaknesses.
  • Fulki-Grevell19 September 2003
    This is my favourite film of all time. I'll advise everyone to go and buy this film, it truly is that good. If ever you're unhappy, stick this film on and you'll cheer up no end. The casting is inspired, Peter macDonald as the hilarious Brendan, the sexy Flora Montgomery as Trudy - who like Brendan, I would do anything for - and a superb supporting cast, especially Brendan's mother. Roddy Doyle has truly came up with a masterpiece. A fantastic romantic comedy, America's so called rom-com's don't even come close. I think I've said this already but....BUY IT!!!
  • This movie thrilled me because of its soundtrack: I am wondering how many viewers realize that all the singing heard in this film is actually the recording of the fabulous voice of the legendary Irish tenor of yesteryear - John Count McCormack? It's interesting to me that none of the previously posted comments refer to that fact. The actors are fresh and modern in their roles, although they are completely new to me as an American viewer. In connection with McCormack, a segment of this film evidently shows an excerpt of McCormack singing "Panis Angelicus" in Dublin's Phoenix Park during the 1932 Papal Eucharistic Conference. This is depicted on a computer screen. I would very much appreciate it if anyone could refer me to the detail of that film, i.e., how to obtain a copy. Information on hand indicates that British Pathe filmed the event.
  • Roddy Doyle is a wonderful author, so it's hardly a surprise that his screenplay would be as charming and interesting as his novels are. Those that liked his Barrytown Trilogy (The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van) novels or films, will like this as well. Well cast and well written, it was amusing at the right moments, warm at the right moments, awkward at the right moments.

    A solitary film buff/choir singer/school teacher meets a woman haphazardly at a pub. After a rocky start they begin to date and fall for each other. A fairly simple basis, but when you throw in the fact that she's a cat burglar it begins to make things more interesting. Part romantic comedy, part road-movie, all Irish charm, the film was well-paced, well-shot and well-acted.

    Especially good was Flora Montgomery who played Trudy. She looked 100% comfortable in the role, and added a really vibrant quality to the film.

    For criticism, Peter MacDonald was good as Brendan, though at times he seemed a bit stock/cardboard. This is partially due to Flora Montgomery being so good. As well, the dialogue could have used a touch up in certain places, and I was a little put off by the post-script involving his brother-in-law and sister (I won't spoil it, though it's not really important). As well, the film quotes and scene parodies were mostly amusing, but it got to be a bit too much - Doyle being perhaps too clever at times with his writing.

    The one thing above all else that I really liked about this film, though, was the plot was never predictable. Many surprising twists of plot and character that made it that much more interesting. Overall: not as good as the Commitments, but really good just the same! 7/10.
  • With all of the other forgettable romantic comedies being marketed in America right now, it's about time a little Irish indie film comes along and shows Hollywood how it should be done. It's about a schoolteacher named Brendan (Peter McDonald from `The Opportunists') who falls for a mysterious Montessori teacher named (can you guess…?) Trudy (the virtually unknown Flora Montgomery), who turns his normal life of hymns and film upside down in an `opposites attract' themed film. The difference between this and the similar `Sweet November' is that the characters are interesting and likeable, and bounce off of each other unlike Charlize Theron and that block-of-wood-of-an-actor Keanu Reeves. The script, written by Roddy Doyle (`The Commitments'), is beautifully sprinkled by re-enactments of scenes from classic films like `Sunset Boulevard', that give the Brendan's passion for cinema a little believability. Also, his singing throughout (don't worry…it's not a musical!) fleshes out his passion for the hymns he sings in his choir. They meet at a pub and while Brendan tries to introduce her to film and family, Trudy leads him into her world of wild parties and crime, which has a serious effect of his teaching ability. Apparently, director Kieron J. Walsh had to fight to secure McDonald and Montgomery in the lead roles, as they lack star power, but it looks as though it turned out to be a good move. While it will never surpass the popularity of, say, `When Harry Met Sally', it will be remembered by true movie lovers a little better than it saccharine-coated competitors.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    WHEN BRENDAN MET TRUDY / (2001) *** (out of four)

    By Blake French:

    Romantic comedies all too often fall into likely taboos of cliché and recycled material, therefore it is a pleasant surprise when such a movie comes along that defies convention. "When Brendan Met Trudy," fresh and mostly interesting, is that movie, kind of like "When Harry Met Sally" except with less charm, originality and likable characters. The film, written by Robert Doyle (of the Irish comedies "The Commitments," "The Snapper" and "The Van"), still works, though, and contains many scenes that are likely to remind you of scenes from other classic movies, but that is intentional. It uses the success of past romantic comedies to liven up the screen; the more movie references to other movies you recognize, the more likely you are to enjoy "When Brendan Met Trudy." Even if you are unfamiliar with such content, however, it still tickles us with its peculiar sense of humor.

    The movie's hero is Brendan (Peter McDonald), a teacher and movie lover living in Dublin, Ireland. He meets a wild young woman named Trudy (Flora Montgomery), a Montessori teacher, at a local pub. They sense charisma within each other, therefore agree to meet again. Trudy pulls this mild-mannered, gentle, gullible everyday man into her wild world where they go to parities where he sings and the observers pass joints, visit the local grocery store, meet up with a Nigerian Refugee named Edgar, and they have lustrous sex. For the first time in a long time, Brendan is having a lot of fun.

    Brendan soon conjectures that Trudy is a psychopath; on the news, he watches as the reporters indicate of a person dressed in black who slices off men's genitals in the middle of the night. Brendan becomes suspicious when Trudy shows up with a black mask on one night, and often slips out during late hours, returning early the next morning. (spoiler ahead) Trudy turns out to be only a professional thief, using the teacher profession as a cover-up, and invites Brendan to go with her during a heist, and he actually enjoys the unpredictable life of crime. The relationship comes to a halt when Brendan introduces Trudy to his family. Will they get back together, or will Brendan and Trudy go their separate ways?

    Kieron J. Walsh, the film's director, proclaims he fought long and hard for the two lead actors (Peter McDonald and Flora Montgomery), and it was a fight worthy of his time. Peter McDonald, previously appearing both on stage and in movies like the Irish comedy "I Went Down," creates a consistent personality for his character and does not change it throughout the movie.

    Flora Montgomery, winner of the 1998 Irish Theatre Best Actress Award for her performances in "Miss Julie," portrays Trudy with the perfect amount of obscure quirkiness, confidence, and domination over Brendan. Under seemingly precise direction and a demanding and occasionally lacking script, these two actors, supported by Marie Mullen, Pauline McLynn, and Don Wycherley, really carry "When Brendan Met Trudy" to success. The script is not strong enough to achieve much of anything here. Consequently, the casting of Peter McDonald and Flora Montgomery may have been even more important than Kieron J. Walsh realized at the time.
  • wisewebwoman24 December 2003
    This one I found quite by accident in a remainder bin and had heard that the great Roddy Doyle had written it. It is a movie lover's delight with many references to old movies. The uptight teacher, Brendan, is a movie buff with a leaning in the art house direction. He sings in a choir and is just about the poster boy for a Mummy's darling. Trudy is, well, the complete opposite, a thief who would never watch anything not in technicolour. There are lots of small scenes that take you by surprise here, many laughs. Trudy and her three TVs one stacked on top of the other, Brendan singing Panis Angelicus at her urging in the most inappropriate of places, Brendan's mother being far from anyone that would have a son like Brendan. The last third of the movie was a bit of a let down, went into slapstick mode, a little too frenetic in parts. Well worth seeing though. 7 out of 10.
  • Filled with memorable lines, well rounded characters and intelligent insights into film. A veritable smorgasboard for film lovers. The central characters are as likable in their flaws as they are in their charm. Just sit back and bask in the simple brilliance of this film.
  • Nerdy-Guy-Meets-Wild-Woman for sex and adventure was far better done fifteen years ago by Jonathan Demme in "Something Wild".

    Some of the film was funny, but not enough. A good many of the jokes, characters, and plot lines went nowhere, and watching the two leads enjoy manic sex in a hayloft after stealing toy models was simply embarrassing.
  • More like When Sexy Met Sassy! This movie created the the super-genre 'saxy.' This was a hot action-adventure that knew no boundaries. It explored whimsical worlds while defining a nation. Truly, one of the turning points in director, Kieron J. Walsh's career. This movie examines the meeting of a man, Brendan, and a woman, Trudy. Never before has a film so accurately depicted the complex relationship between to humans. The success of 'When Brendan Met Trudy' was a combination of brilliant choreography and ingenious lighting design. A fun phsychological thriller with a surprising twist ending that will leave you breathless. A true modern masterpiece. I didn't actually see this movie.
  • dsklodginski22 February 2003
    I saw this movie a while back and was thinking about it again the other day. It took me a minute to remember the title - I had forgotten that the great,witty Irish writer Roddy Doyle penned the script. It was a clever, well-acted romance with a wonderful score. What's the problem? Well, you can't rent it in the US & it's not for sale anywhere around here (except Amazon-Germany). The soundtrack never was for sale. All of this is too bad because this movie was one-up on a number of the romantic comedies around now. So should the opportunity arise that you can view this delightful movie, by all means, do so.
  • This is one of those little gems that remind you what enjoying a romantic story is all about, at the simplest level - no stars, no special effects, no more silliness and twists than tolerable and most of all no soppy rhetoric of broken hearts followed by happily ever after. Yes, hearts are broken and happiness finally reconquered but it's all underscored with such a tongue in cheek light touch that it just makes it more credible, even more so, ironically, because of its declared self-referentiality and meta-cinematic approach - in the quotes and references to classics scattered throughout, the tribute opening and ending scenes (along with the hilarious closing titles sequence - "this character was purely fictional and stopped existing after the movie").

    The whole movie is like suspended in this old-fashioned dream of a love story that's too quirky and cute to be true, yet it manages to be somehow realistic, especially by offering a lot of views of Dublin city and often humorous references to contemporary events or popular culture - the spoofs of the TV news with the police advising young men to stay home for safety ("there's a good film with Clint Eastwood on the telly") being most notable, along with the school headmaster's secret punk passion.

    It's both drawing on those timeless stories that made cinema history (the plot having more than one obvious reference to A Bout De Soufflé) and playing on modern stereotypes about relationships. The game of diffidence and seduction between the sexes is amusingly explored, with the sexy, extrovert, volcanic and unpredictable female protagonist overwhelming the male protagonist with her charm, turning him from a shy creature of habit into a more daring, vital character. It may have all been seen before, but that's precisely (one of) the points of this movie.

    It's a light-hearted tribute to cinema in the first place, and a truly enjoyable breezy comedy, smart and simple at the same time. The Roddy Doyle touch does show - that feel-good factor balanced with genuine wit and humour. The cast is really good, also in the secondary roles. It's not the most amazing romance (or comedy) ever filmed and it's not the best Doyle can do - but it's genuinely fun, and enchanting, and sexy. What more can you ask from a real romantic comedy?
  • It was the wording on the box in the video shop that drew myself and my girlfriend to this movie. Brendan is a schoolteacher who has lost the plot, sings in an church choir and who watches lots of old movies. He is conservative in all his ways. Trudy is the complete opposite and won't watch anything not in colour.

    I won't say which character reminds me of myself.

    The box also claims the movie is much better than Notting Hill. That sounds like a kiss of death to me.

    In the course of time Trudy turns out to be a thief and the movie is yet another romantic tale of opposites falling in love. Like many, this one has one-dimensional characters and decent actors restricted by a weak script. Like so many movies today, laughs are got through coarse language and predictable jokes and, sex takes up time that would be better spent developing the plot. It's almost as if they were straining to fill an hour and a half.

    This movie is interesting though if you want to count how many old

    movies were used to pull lines from. I almost thought it was a Media Studies Student's project.

    As Brendan the Schoolteacher might put it: "5 out of 10. Fair idea but you lost the point half-way through. I know you can do better, Doyle."
  • This movie has some good features. Some of the film references and dialogue are spot on, and the final scenes outlining what happens to the characters after the movie are priceless.

    However ultimately the movie is too wrapped up in its obscure references and too amorally cold to be satisfying.

    I mostly enjoyed the film while I watched it, but I wouldn't bother seeing it again, even if it came up on TV.