Anne Hailes reviews: Mrs. Brown’s Boys

Went to see Mrs. Brown’s Boys in the cinema. First released on June 14 the film topped the box office charts in England for only two weeks, not exactly an endorsement of greatness. Just over three months later, at our showing, there were five souls in the cinema.

On the small screen I can just about take Brendan O’Carroll, he’s witty and clever but repeat after repeat has diluted his character and in the cinema he’s slightly grotesque.


I admitted to a Dublin friend living in the South of England that I’d seen the film and he almost disowned me. “I can’t believe that my friends in Dublin watch him and that a lot of people in England think he’s some sort of god and now you too!”

On the TV screen the story lines move at great pace, characters are small in stature and it can be very funny. On a huge screen there is to my mind a lack of slickness, wrinkles can’t be disguised and Agnes is more joke than funny, and ‘she’ has a very pronounced hairy stubble under the makeup!

It must have cost a fortune to make this film, the credit list goes on and on, mostly the same people as made the TV series but to my mind they needed to shift up a gear for a movie. It’s a bit cops and robbers, a bit musical, a bit pastiche, a bit funny. There are rumoured to be more films in the pipeline and I think lessons will be learned and I might be tempted to check this once it hits the cinemas.

O’Carroll has a fascinating family history, his mother was an amazing woman, a crusading Labour Party TD, school teacher, mother of eleven who campaigned against high prices and the black market after the last war. She also founded the Lower Prices Council and she produced and influenced her son Brendan.

Undoubtedly, the O’Carroll family are loyal and united and this has been the background as we saw on the BBC television programme ‘Who do you think you are?’ last Thursday evening. O’Carroll was only interested in tracing the story surrounding the death of his grandfather Peter. It transpired that he had been brutally assassinated by a British officer from an elite killing squad.

The comedian wasn’t acting as the facts unfolded, he was at once shocked, outraged, frustrated and dreadfully sad. Whereas on the tv screen the modern O’Carroll family are funny and outrageous and Agnes is foul mouthed and far from everybody’s cup of tea, on the cinema screen they are larger than life, stubble shows through and wrinkles are evident, on the documentary we saw the real man who is sensitive and kind.

By Anne Hailes

Note to self: It doesn’t do to jump to conclusions.

More at

Post Author: Belfast Times

Leave a Reply