|Circle of Friends 1995 with Minnie Driver and Chris O'Donnell|
Circle of Friends is one of her better books about three girls growing up and going to University in Ireland in the 1950s. This great coming of age story was adapted for the screen by one of my favourite screen writers, Andrew Davies. The main character Bernadette Hogan, or Benny (played by Minnie Driver) is a big girl who lives in Knockglen Ireland and enrolls in University of Dublin, Trinity College with her best friend Eve Malone (an orphan raised by nuns and played by Geraldine O'Rawe) and their childhood friend Nan Mahon (Saffron Burrows) the gorgeous girl who moved to Dublin. Of course there is a guy- Jack Foley, played by Chris O'Donnell who provides the main love interest and fodder for some conflict between the girls.
|Benny and Eve on the first day of University in Dublin from Circle of Friends|
Minnie Driver apparently gained 30 pounds to play Benny, however she still seems to be more tall than "large", but she does a fantastic job playing the girl who gets the golden boy, ever feeling that she can't quite hold on to him.
|Jack and Benny from Circle of Friends|
|Post war university class in Circle of Friends|
|Ciaran Hinds as Professor Flynn in Circle of Friends|
Colin Firth also has a role as the rich protestant neighbour of the families in Knockglen. He does not turn out to be a really nice guy, in the end.
|Colin Firth and Saffron Burrows in Circle of Friends|
Bernadette 'Benny' Hogan: I don't know. Sometimes it seems like such a strange sort of thing to want to do. You know, ridiculous. Like someone putting their finger up your nose or something.
|Alan Cumming as the creepy Sean Walsh in Circle of Friends|
|Minnie Driver as Benny Hogan in Circle of Friends|
I won't give away the ending in case you haven't yet seen this little gem. It isn't one of the great films of the century, but it is a lovely diversion to travel back in time to County Kilkenny where this was filmed and spend some time with Benny and her circle of friends.
Bernadette 'Benny' Hogan: I don't care what the priests say. I think we should do as we feel.