177 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2005
You may not immediately spot the leprechauns, wizards, and other tell-tale signs, but as you watch `Waking Ned Devine', you will soon realize that what you are seeing is an Irish fairy tale, simple and pure. The signs are all there, and if you are sharp, you will soon start to catch them. First to make its appearance is the pot of gold, disguised as a winning lottery ticket held by some lucky neighbor in the tiny village of Tulaigh Morh. Next, you will discover that the two old men scheming for a piece of the action, blarney filled Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and his expressive faced scarecrow pal Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly), are but thinly disguised mischievous leprechauns. You will meet a hog keeper (James Nesbitt) waiting for the kiss of a fair maid (Susan Lynch) to reveal him for the prince that he is, and an old hag so black hearted and malevolent that all know her as a witch. And when Ned Devine, the neighbor with the winning ticket, dies from the shock of it, his ghost appears to old Jackie in a dream, setting in motion a plan fanciful as any Puss in Boots ever dreamed of that has the whole village working to outwit the vigilance of the lottery board and the malevolence of the witch, to all claim a piece of the fortune at rainbow's end.
`Waking Ned Devine' will enchant you and make you laugh. From its opening scene until the last verse of The Parting Glass is sung, it will charm you and leave you with a smile, wanting to watch it again.
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2002
I first saw Waking Ned Devine in the movie theater. I quite enjoyed it at the time but had not seen it again until just this weekend.
In contrast to essentially ALL comedies I have seen in recent years, this one holds up wonderfully to repeated viewing. It was even better than the first time. Every part, from the stars O'Bannon and Kelly to the smallest walk-ons, is wonderfuly acted. I particularly liked the old sourpuss who rode the motorized cart, the pig farmer, and the young priest. They are all so multidimensional that you can imagine what they are doing when they aren't on screen.
The screenplay is wonderful, and the direction is expert. I especially liked the love scenes between Maggie and the pig farmer who smells so bad that she has to stay yards away from him at all times. Imagine an affecting, humorous, and believable love scene where the participants don't even touch each other!
Another plus is that this is actually a great family movie. Although it is in no way designed for kids, my 8-year-old laughed all the way through it. He especially liked the famous naked motorcycle ride!
Definitely worth owning (not just renting)!
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2000
I must admit that I bought this movie because of where it was filmed rather than because of the plot, although I was not at all disappointed with the latter. I found the combination of impeccable performance, gentle wit, occasional hilarity, evocative soundtrack and stunning scenery harmonised perfectly into a highly enjoyable whole. DVD audio and video quality is excellent although there is little otherwise to choose between VHS and DVD formats. Extras are limited to "text and photo" biographies of the cast and a Theatrical Trailer which gives away too many surprises - DO NOT WATCH THIS BEFORE WATCHING THE MOVIE.
Many people may be surprised to discover that not a single frame of the movie was shot in Ireland, the filming actually taking place on the Isle of Man. Although more famous for its tail-less cats and the annual TT motorcycle races, tax concessions by the (Independent) Manx government have recently made the Island something of a haven for movie makers. The Isle of Man (which is almost exactly at the geographic centre of the British Isles) is in many ways an ideal location ; within its 220 square miles it possesses much of the landscape scenery found in the United Kingdom and Eire and enjoys a more favourable climate than either of its near neighbours.
The dramatic cliffs of the Island's south-west coast are used to wonderful effect in Waking Ned Devine as are the beautiful, secluded bays and the narrow country lanes - the naked motorcycle ride has to be one of the most memorable scenes in any recent movie. The village of Tullymore in the movie is actually Cregneash, at the extreme southern tip of the Island. A large part of this village, with its thatched farmstead and cottages, is a living museum, part of Manx National Heritage. I would urge anyone who loved the scenery in this movie to visit and explore the Isle of Man should the opportunity arise. It has been a favourite haunt of mine for many years and is certain to feature in an increasing number of productions as its reputation as a film location grows.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
As we learn every St. Patrick's Day, we all have a little of the Irish in us -- that irrepressible urge to smile, enjoy our neighbors and family, and tell a good story.
This is one such story. Filmed in a beautiful village on the Isle of Man, it features actors that are not beautiful physically (although not ugly either) and a story line that is incredible, but not quite impossible. And you come away from it feeling good. Even the Wicked Witch gets her just desserts.
I lent it to an Irish friend who was down after attending several funerals of old friends and it restored his good spirits. It's that kind of film.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2001
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I never get tired of this film or it's music (and I rarely go for soundtracks, but I picked up this one). Leonard Maltin's movie book calls this a "slight" film but I find it huge on charm and heart. It's a well-paced, old-fashioned caper story in which all but two residents (approximately 52 to begin with) of an impoverished remote rural Irish village conspire to collect the big lottery when their old pal, Ned Devine, has died in the excitement of learning he's won. Of the two exceptions, one is the head priest who is conveniently out of town when the story is set in motion and the other is a humorless old crone who threatens to tattle. You can't help but cheer on the chicanery in a film where the humor ranges from the black to the silly to the sentimental. Seems to me the only person who will not be won over by this movie is a humorless old crone. The scenery is stunning.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
"Waking Ned Devine" doesn't have Julia Roberts or Adam Sandler in it, and that's an automatic sign of good quality. But it's the winking Irish cuteness, widespread fraud, lovable characters and tight plotting that make this movie "Devine" fun.
One of the few thrills in Jackie O'Shea's (Ian Bannen) life is the lotto. And so when he and his best buddy Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly) discover that someone in their tiny Irish village of Tullymore (population: around fifty, not including animals) has won, they go to absurd lengths to find out. After a few dead ends, they find out: kindly Ned Devine. The problem is, Ned is dead of the shock, with a lottery ticket in his hand and a silly grin on his face. That night, Jackie has a dream about Ned offering to "share the chicken," and becomes convinced that his dead buddy wants him to cash the ticket.
Jackie and Michael call the lotto and claim that Ned wants to claim his money. The lotto officials duly send out a friendly representative to Tullymore -- and Michael, who has "never told a lie in his life," finds himself in Ned's house, in Jackie's clothes, pretending to be Ned. The problem? The representative plans to ask some of his fellow villagers to confirm that "Ned" is who he says he is. And so the conspiracy of lies begins to spread.
That's not the entire plot, needless to say. There's a love triangle between single mom Maggie (Susan Lynch), loving pig farmer Pig Finn (James Nesbitt), and wealthy wild boy Pat Mulligan. Maggie loves Pig, but she doesn't love the smell he brings with him. There's the question of who the father of Maggie's stoic kid Maurice (Robert Hickey) is -- and be forewarned, there are some red herrings flung toward the audience. Jackie's wife Annie (Fionnula Flanagan) is less-than-pleased by these extralegal activies. And the local creepy old lady Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey) is waging a one-woman war on the village of winners, because they didn't give her more than her share.
The thing that makes this film work is its charming lack of seriousness. You don't really care that the people in it are committing fraud -- after all, it's what dear ol' Ned would've wanted. You merely want Jackie and Michael to succeed, for Maggie to marry Pig, and for everyone to retire rich, fat and happy. The lack of seriousness is shown in the constant jokes about fruity soaps, alcohol, nude octogenarian motorcyclists, and the funniest almost-love-scene ever.
Ian Bannen is truly lovable as Jackie -- he's not perfect, he has plenty of flaws, but he's charmingly generous and honest. David Kelley is solemnly cute as Michael, whether it's tearing up at his own eulogy or biking for his life with no clothes on. Fionnula Flanagan is fully believable as his wife, showing a steadfast fire and concern for her husband, just in case he bites off more than he can chew. The main problem would be Robert Hickey. The late Ned shows more animation than this kid. Parents can probably allow their kids to watch this -- there's no sex, profanity or violence, although there is some unsexy male nudity (of the skinny-dipping variety).
"Waking Ned Devine" is a comedy for people who are sick of comedies. With genuine wit and charm, this rises head and shoulders above gross-out or romantic comedies. Outrageously funny.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2004
If hope you see this without knowing ANYthing about the movie except what I write here. Because I won't tell you anything about it. YOU are fortunate, more so than I, because you haven't seen this yet.
This is a sleeper movie, one that is far better than the public generally knows.
Be ready to enjoy a symphony of acting. If you don't like foreign films (I didn't) this may very well be the first you enjoy (and then see Run Lola Run, one that is 100% different from this but another foreign movie for people who don't think they like foreign movies).
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2000
Movies try so hard these days to send a message or portray an epic or be the master in fine special effects that when a delightful, funny, sweet movie with no ulterior motive comes along, it feels like a breath of fresh air. Waking Ned Devine is all of those-witty and charming, it tells of the antics of the small Irish town of Tully Moor, that tries to cash in on a lottery ticket of one of its citizens, except that the poor man is dead. But this movie is not without substance; interlaced among the comedic hijinks of the town we get to know the characters and their lives: the trials of Maggie, trying to raise a small son alone; Finn, the pig farmer, who's in love with Maggie; the town crank who is out to unveil the lottery scheme; and Jackie and Michael, two men whose friendship is a testament to the sweet Irish life. This is a hilarious movie full of great dialogue and a great storyline to boot.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2004
I saw in one of the previous reviews that this was not a laugh out loud comedy. I disagree. If you love to laugh watch this movie. Its sweet, cunning, silly, and it will make you laugh out loud. I found myself unable to stop laughing when nasty Lizzy Quinn is pushed off the cliff in the phone booth...just watch this movie...I promise you will have the giggles all day.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 1999
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
This is an enchanting movie - full of humor, love of life, and the importance of friendship. Life in a rural Irish town is depicted with blends of joys and sorrows against a background of the breath-taking Irish countryside and captivating Irish music. Suitable for all ages.