GenreComedy, Drama, Romance Music directorPaddy Moloney LanguageEnglish
WriterBrendan OCarroll, John Goldsmith Release dateDecember 3, 1999 (Limited)
March 3, 2000 CastAnjelica Huston (Agnes Browne), Marion O'Dwyer (Marion Monks), Niall O'Shea (Mark Browne), Ciaran Owens (Frankie Browne), Roxanna Williams (Cathy Browne), Carl Power (Simon Browne) Similar moviesJuno, A Real Young Girl, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Cruel Intentions, Schöne Tage, Glue
Agnes Browne is a 1999 Irish romantic comedy-drama film directed, produced by, and starring Anjelica Huston, based on the book The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll.
In 1967 in Dublin, the unexpected death of Agnes Browne's husband sends her family, consisting of seven children aged between two and fourteen, into emotional turmoil and financial crisis. She is forced to borrow money from a ruthless loan shark named Mr. Billy to make ends meet. She faces her dismal existence by selling fruits and vegetables at an open-air market based in Dublin's Moore Street where she spends time with her best friend Marion, who proves to be a great source of encouragement in her difficulties.
Wishing to escape her troubles, if only for a short time, Agnes dreams of finding enough money to attend an upcoming Tom Jones concert. Agnes' dream is realized when Marion secretly buys two tickets and gives them to her. Agnes also accepts the offer of a date with a French baker named Pierre. Her children pool their money together and buy her a new dress to wear on the date. Marion soon discovers an ominous lump in her breast, which proves fatal.
Eventually the family has to face the loan shark. Mr. Billy warns Agnes that she has until Christmas to pay him back or he will strip her house of her furniture. On Christmas Day, Agnes receives a letter stating she can collect the money from the hotel where her husband worked. She holds off Mr. Billy and sends her children to the hotel, where they meet Tom Jones and tell him their story. Tom then visits Agnes in her home, helps her pay off Mr. Billy, and carries off her and the children to the concert in his cab. At the concert, Tom Jones dedicates his song "She's a Lady" to Agnes.
Anjelica Huston as Agnes Browne
Marion O'Dwyer as Marion Monks
Ray Winstone as Mr. Billy
Arno Chevrier as Pierre
Niall O'Shea as Mark Browne
Ciaran Owens as Frankie Browne
Roxanna Williams as Cathy Browne
Carl Power as Simon Browne
Mark Power as Dermot Browne
Gareth O'Connor as Rory Browne
James Lappin as Trevor Browne
Tom Jones as Himself (stunt double: Will Anderson)
Gerard McSorley as Mr. Aherne
Kate O'Toole as Senior Sister Magdalen
Jennifer Gibney as Winnie the Mackerel
Brendan O'Carroll as Seamus, the Drunk
Agnes Browne was not well received in the United States. Franz Lidz, writing in the New York Times, called it a "flimsy whimsy" and chided Roger Ebert for liking it. William Arnold felt that the ending trivialized the story, leaving the audience "with the uncomfortable feeling that we've just viewed some episode of a TV sitcom of the era." New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden found it "nothing more than a series of homey skits loosely woven into a portrait of a working-class saint."
The film had a better reception in Europe, winning the Youth Jury Award at the 1999 San Sebastián International Film Festival. It also received a Grand Prix nomination at the Ghent International Film Festival the same year.
The Mammy was followed by two additional books: The Chiselers and The Granny. However, these were not made into films. Brendan O'Carroll has had his own success with the Browne family in Mrs. Brown's Boys, both on the theatre stage and on television.