Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Chris O'Donnell
Minnie Driver
Saffron Burrows.
Running Time
102 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Nightmare, The
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Circle of Friends
College shenanigans

submit to reddit

A story about the lives, loves and betrayals of three Irish girls, Bennie Eve and Nan as they go to Trinity College, Dublin. Bennie soon seems to have found her ideal man in Jack, but events conspire to ruin their happiness.

The most unpredictable thing about this otherwise formula romance, based on the Maeve Binchy best-seller, is that while the frumpy, frizz-haired heroine Benny (Driver) has two suitors beating the front door down, her more cutesome colleagues Eve (Geraldine O’Rawe) and Nan (Burrows) clock up only one apiece. Strange, certainly, but in these days of uniformly curvaceous heroines it makes for an endearing twist.
Benny and Eve are two nice smalltown Catholic girls in 50s Ireland who head off to Dublin University and meet up with an old friend, the sophisticated Nan. She introduces them to college rugby star Jack Foley (O’Donnell with dodgy Irish accent) who bypasses the more shapely students for Benny, although her religious beliefs prevent her from surrendering her virginity to her frustrated beau.
Back home things aren’t so rosy: Benny not only clashes with her staid parents, but also has to escape the advances of sleazy local boy Sean (Alan Cumming). While she and Eve discuss the merits of giving in to their respective blokes, Nan is actually getting down to business with aristocratic older man Simon (Firth).
From here on in it’s strictly by the book: unwanted pregnancy, sudden death, and a series of deceptions which threaten Jack’s chances of ever getting a shag again, all appear as predicted. But despite its glaring obviousness, this is charming enough to captivate the viewer, producing unexpectedly strong female characters and faultless attention to detail. Director O’Connor effortlessly conjuring up the innocence of the era, introducing a streak of sexuality absent from Binchy’s sedate novel, and, overall, create an enchanting, if denture-rottingly sweet, yarn.

Sweet romance

Reviewed by Caroline Westbrook

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)