The Playboys

  • Film
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In a remote Irish border village in 1957, unwed mother Tara (Wright) is lectured by the womenfolk and priest on the wages of sin, while the men, notably Police Sergeant Hegarty (Finney) hover like moths around a flame, only to meet with rejection. The situation worsens when she finally yields to Tom (Quinn), tale-spinning member of a troupe of travelling players led by the irrepressibly optimistic Freddie (O'Shea)... Directed by MacKinnon with great pace and a minimum of moralising or sentimentality, Shane Connaughton and Kerry Crabbe's tale of passion threatened by a repressed, close-knit society makes for a superior period drama, as tough, touching and witty as Connaughton's My Left Foot. Much credit is due to the cast, particularly Finney, who brings a melancholy gravity to a film which elsewhere steers sensibly clear of solemnity (the troupe's hammy renditions of Othello and Gone With the Wind are especially funny). With time, place and mood sensitively evoked, this is solid, intelligent entertainment, mercifully free of the usual 'Oirish' clich├ęs.

Release details

Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Screenwriter: Shane Connaughton, Kerry Crabbe
Cast: Albert Finney
Aidan Quinn
Robin Wright
Milo O'Shea
Alan Devlin
Niamh Cusack
Ian McElhinney
Adrian Dunbar
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