Breakfast on Pluto (film)
|Breakfast on Pluto|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Neil Jordan|
|Produced by||Alan Moloney
|Screenplay by||Neil Jordan|
|Based on||Breakfast on Pluto
by Pat McCabe
|Music by||Anna Jordan|
|Editing by||Tony Lawson|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Classics
|Running time||129 minutes|
Breakfast on Pluto is a 2005 comedy-drama film written and directed by Neil Jordan and based on the novel of the same name by Patrick McCabe, as adapted by Jordan and McCabe. This dark comedy stars Cillian Murphy as a transgender foundling searching for love and her long-lost mother in small town Ireland and London in the 1970s.
A glamorously made-up transgender woman named Patrick "Kitten" Braden, pushes a baby in a pram and flirts insouciantly with construction workers, and introduces her life story. The film is divided over more than 30 chapters. The fictional Irish town of Tyrellin, near the border of Northern Ireland in the late 1940s, cartoon robins narrate as baby Patrick's mother abandons her on the doorstep of the local parochial house where her father, Father Liam, lives. She is then placed with an unloving foster mother. Since she is a transgender baby who appears to be physically male, she is gendered male. A young Patrick is later shown donning a dress and lipstick, which angers his foster family. Patrick is accepted by his close friends Charlie, Irwin, and Lawrence, as well as by Lawrence's father, who tells Patrick that his biological mother looked like blonde American movie star Mitzi Gaynor.
The story moves to Patrick's late teen years in the early '70s. Patrick gets into trouble in school by writing explicit fiction imagining how he was conceived by Father Liam and Liam's young housekeeper Eily Bergin and by inquiring about where to get a sex change. Patrick renames herself as "Kitten," also using the name Patricia. She approaches her father in confession, asking about her mother, but is rebuffed. Kitten soon runs away from home, catching a ride with a glam rock band, Billy Hatchet and the Mohawks, and striking up a flirtation with leader Billy. Billy installs the lovestruck, homeless Kitten in a trailer home where she discovers he's hiding guns smuggled for the Irish Republican Army. Meanwhile, Irwin has begun to work with the IRA, much to the dismay of his now-girlfriend Charlie. Kitten dismisses Irwin's politics as "serious, serious, serious," but after Lawrence is killed by police detonating a suspected IRA car bomb, she tosses the IRA gun cache into a lake. Billy abandons Kitten to flee the IRA, while Kitten plays crazy, so that she won't be shot.
Kitten next journeys to London to search for her mother, but initial inquiries prove fruitless. Penniless, she finds shelter in a tiny cottage in a park, only to find that it's a children's entertainment park for The Wombles. Kitten gets a job as a singing, dancing Womble, but immediately loses it when her sponsor and co-worker punches their boss. Forced into prostitution, she is violently attacked by her first client, saving herself from strangulation by spraying him in the eyes with Chanel No. 5 perfume. At a diner, magician Bertie Vaughan asks her what she is writing in her notebook. She explains that it's the story of "The Phantom Lady" who was "swallowed up" by the big city, then reveals that it's about the mother she is seeking. Bertie hires her to be his magician's assistant, exploiting her life story in a hypnosis act. The two take a romantic day trip, but Kitten explains that she's not really a girl when Bertie tries to kiss her. Bertie says that he already knew this. Soon, Charlie finds Bertie's show and takes Kitten away.
Kitten goes to a club frequented by British soldiers and dances with a soldier, only to be injured when the club is bombed by the IRA. When police discover that Kitten is biologically male and Irish, she is arrested as a suspected terrorist. Beaten and prevented from sleeping, she writes a hyperbolic statement, shown in a fantasy spy film spoof sequence. The police's attitude soften, realising that she is innocent, and release her. With no place to go, Kitten begs to stay in the police station, but is tossed to the street. Kitten is again forced to turn tricks, but is saved by one of the cops who interrogated her. He brings her to a peep show where she transforms herself into a high femme blonde. Her repentant father finds her and in a scene that mirrors their confessional scene, professes his love and tells Kitten where to find her mother. She goes to her mother's house posing as a telephone company market researcher and discovers a younger half-brother whose name is also Patrick. She faints upon meeting her mother, but after reviving does not reveal her earlier identity.
When Irwin is killed by the IRA, Kitten goes home to tend to a pregnant Charlie. The town reacts against the unwed mother and her transgender friend by firebombing the parish house. Kitten and Charlie flee to London. In the final scene, they run into Kitten's pregnant mother Eily and little Patrick at the doctor's office, where Charlie is getting post-natal care. Kitten is friendly, but still doesn't reveal her past identity.
- Cillian Murphy as Patrick/Patricia "Kitten" Braden
- Conor McEvoy as 10-year-old Patrick
- Stephen Rea as Bertie Vaughan
- Brendan Gleeson as John Joe Kenny
- Liam Neeson as Father Liam
- Gavin Friday as Billy Hatchett
- Ruth Negga as Charlie
- Laurence Kinlan as Irwin
- Seamus Reilly as Lawrence
- Eva Birthistle as Eily Bergin
- Ian Hart as PC Wallis
- Steven Waddington as Inspector Routledge
- Ruth McCabe as Ma Braden
- Liam Cunningham as 1st Biker (who introduces song "Breakfast on Pluto")
- Patrick McCabe as Schoolmaster Peepers Egan
- Bryan Ferry as Mr. Silky String
- Dominic Cooper as Squaddie at Disco
To prepare for the lead role of Kitten, Murphy studied women's body language and for a few weeks met with a drag queen who instructed him and took him out clubbing with friends.
Neil Jordan and Pat McCabe made big changes to the story in their adaptation of the novel for the silver screen. In the book, the protagonist is called "Pussy," but Jordan and McCabe rename her "Kitten" in the film. Unlike the highly sexual Pussy, who is sexually involved with numerous male and female characters in some rather kinky situations as well as a few long-term relationships, Kitten doesn't even kiss another character on the lips. One sexual encounter for hire is strongly implied, but Kitten is not shown being overtly sexual with anyone on screen. Kitten's flirtatious relationships with the series of male characters she meets throughout the film are never shown or strongly implied to have been consummated, leaving the yearning main character unrequited.
The seaside scene between Kitten and Bertie was considered by some to be an allusion to director Jordan's earlier film The Crying Game, which also involved a transgender major character, the IRA, and actor Stephen Rea. In The Crying Game, Rea's character doesn't realize that the woman he has fallen for and become sexually involved with is biologically male. In Breakfast on Pluto, Kitten confesses that she's "not a girl" before Rea's character can kiss her, and he says kindly that he already knew, but does not follow through with the kiss.
The author of the novel upon which the film is based, co-screenwriter Patrick McCabe, has a cameo in the film as Kitten's creative writing teacher. Declan Burke also played his part as the leading extra.
Awards and nominations
Jordan also won the 2007 IFTA for Best Director and Jordan and McCabe took home the Best Script IFTA.
|European Film Awards||Best Actor||Cillian Murphy||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Cillian Murphy||Nominated|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Best Foreign Dramatic Trailer||Nominated|
|Best Voice Over||Nominated|
|Irish Film and Television Awards||Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film||Cillian Murphy||Won|
|Best Director||Neil Jordan||Won|
|Best Hair & Make-Up for Film||Glynn, Lorraine, Lynn Johnson||Won|
|Best Script for Film||Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe||Won|
|Best Irish Film (Audience Award)||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film||Stephen Rea||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film||Ruth Negga||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Declan Quinn||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design for Film||Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh||Nominated|
|Best Film||Alan Moloney, Neil Jordan, Stephen Woolley||Nominated|
|Best Production Design for Film||Tom Conroy||Nominated|
|Ljubljana International Film Festival||Audience Award||Neil Jordan||Won|
|National Board of Review||Special Recognition For excellence in filmmaking||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Cillian Murphy||Nominated|
- Kaufman, Anthony. "Blue Streak"[dead link], Time Out New York, 10 November 2005. Accessed 19 July 2007.
- Stein, Ruthe. "Walking on thin gender line in search of love", The San Francisco Chronicle, 23 December 2005. Accessed 18 July 2007.
- Full cast and crew for Breakfast on Pluto IMDb
- "Eva and Cillian take film accolades"[dead link], AOL Entertainment U.K., 12 February 2007. Accessed 18 July 2007.
- Official website
- Breakfast on Pluto at the Internet Movie Database
- Breakfast on Pluto at Box Office Mojo
- Breakfast on Pluto at Rotten Tomatoes
- Slant Magazine Film Review by Keith Uhlich
- Interview with Patrick McCabe and Neil Jordan (January 2006)