Breakfast on Pluto
What IS ordinary in this photo?


Golden Mug

2005 GOLDEN MUGS

NOMINEE:

Best Director (Neil Jordan)
Best Supporting Actor (Liam Neeson)


Theatrical Release Date: 12/02/2005
Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Ruth Negga, Liam Neeson, Gavin Friday, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea

In “Breakfast on Pluto”, Thomas ‘Kitten’ Braden is an Irish orphan played by Cillian Murphy. As he gets older, Kitten decides to try and find his mother, who was last known to be living in London.

Sounds pretty straightforward. Of course, that’s not all there is. Kitten is a transsexual whose lack of parental identity and involvement added to his/her own confusion about identity and place in the world.

This is not new territory for director Neil Jordan. He made the wonderful and amazing “The Crying Game.” If you’re looking for a film comparison for “Pluto”, that’s the best one to make.

Not only are there some common sexual/gender identity themes, “Pluto” is also very much a tale of the problems in Ireland in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The effects of the conflict are felt by every character in the film.

To help Kitten along her journey (I’m done playing the his/her game), she meets many different people; A priest (Liam Neeson), a rock singer (Gavin Friday), an actor (Brendan Gleeson) and a magician (Stephen Rea). Each adds their own bit of emotion and love to Kitten’s confused and searching soul.

I know that sounds a bit corny but the key element to this film is heart. When you boil it down, Kitten wants to find her place in the world. Whether that means finding her mother, staying in Ireland with her best friend (played well by Ruth Negga), or struggling for her own existence amidst the big city of London, it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that Kitten finds her own path.

To that end, all of the acting is excellent and Jordan does another great job of weaving in a political statement amidst a personal story. It’s almost the combination of two films, comprising a mosaic of the era along with the journey of one person trying to find their place in life.

The film does involve Kitten using her feminine/boyish charms to survive along the way and if the subject matter of transsexuality disturbs you, then this isn’t the film for you. If you didn’t like “The Crying Game”, this probably isn’t for you. If you can’t see through the tongue-in-cheek humor and find the heart at the center of the film, then this film isn’t for you.

If any of the above apply, I suppose I understand but I also feel sorry for you. I hate to get on a soap box, but since I’m not the tallest guy, it’s easiest to talk to crowds this way.

It’s now 2006. People caught up on ‘what’ people are and not ‘who’ they are need to travel back to an earlier era. I’ll leave it at that, I don’t feel like preaching.

I will admit that I was put off early on in the movie by the humor; I felt it was a bit disingenuous and I was worried that the film would be all light and fluffy. Thankfully, I can trust Jordan not to make something so simple and banal.

“Breakfast on Pluto” is a moving story about finding your identity, finding your place, and defining family. It does meander a little in the middle and takes some time to really grab you, so I’m going to give it a 4 out of 5. A few editorial tweaks and I might have given it a perfect score.

Much like last summer’s “Junebug”, I didn’t want the film to end. I wanted to be a part of Kitten’s world by the end of the film. That’s not to say I’m putting on any fishnet stockings in the near future but I wanted to find that same definition of home – and even if it meant learning how to walk in high heels, the benefits outweigh the cost.

We should all be so lucky.