The Brothers McMullen

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The Brothers McMullen
Brothers mcmullen poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Edward Burns
Produced by Edward Burns
Dick Fisher
Written by Edward Burns
Starring Edward Burns
Mike McGlone
Jack Mulcahy
Connie Britton
Music by Seamus Egan
Cinematography Dick Fisher
Edited by Dick Fisher
Production
  company
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Brothers McMullen Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23,800
Box office $10,246,600

The Brothers McMullen is a 1995 American comedy-drama film written, directed, produced by, and starring Edward Burns. It deals with the lives of the three Irish Catholic McMullen brothers from Long Island, New York, over three months, as they grapple with basic ideas and values — love, sex, marriage, religion and family — in the 1990s.

Plot[edit]

The film begins with Finbar "Barry" McMullen (Edward Burns) standing at the grave of his recently deceased father, along with his mother, who tells him that she's returning to her native Ireland to be with Finbar O'Shaughnessy (after whom Barry is named), her sweetheart of long ago. She tells Barry that while she gave Barry's father 35 of the best years of her life, she's going to start living life her way with the man she really loves.

Jack (Jack Mulcahy) has purchased their parents' home and lives in it with his wife Molly. Jack is torn between his love for Molly and his lust for Ann, a former romantic interest of Barry's.

Barry and the youngest brother, Pat (Mike McGlone) ask to temporarily move in with Jack, to which he reluctantly agrees. Pat plans to break his engagement to Susan, but becomes depressed when she breaks up with him. After much pleading, Susan decides to take Pat back. Pat then decides to end the relationship for good for Leslie, an auto mechanic. They decide to head out to California together in a classic car that Leslie has been working on.

Barry shows no interest in a long-term relationship, until he meets Audrey (Maxine Bahns), a woman whom he accuses of "stealing" an apartment that he was trying to rent for himself. Though things do not go well between them at first, they warm up to one another and start a relationship.

Molly learns of Jack's affair after finding a wrapped condom in his pants as she is cleaning up after him one day. She confronts Jack, but he refuses to discuss it.

Jack finally breaks it off for good with Ann. He then returns home determined to rebuild his wounded marriage, but not before paying a visit to his father's grave, promising (in a voice-over) that he will be a better husband to his wife than his father was, pouring a bottle of Irish whiskey over the grave.

Barry decides to move in with Audrey and take their relationship to the next level. The movie ends with all three brothers gathering at the family homestead with a newfound belief in love and a desire to not let the ghosts of the past stand in their way.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Edward Burns wrote the screenplay in the spring of 1993 while working as a production assistant for Entertainment Tonight, where he worked for cameraman Dick Fisher, who later produced and edited the film. Burns' own Irish Catholic background fed into the screenplay, and film was mostly shot in Burns' real-life family home, a house in the Valley Stream community of Long Island.[1] Shooting took place on weekends over an eight-month period in New York State, U.S..

The film, which was shot on 16mm film, cost only $28,000, essentially the cost of raw stock and processing (this does not, however, include post production costs incurred after the major distribution deal was made, nor the cost of the rights for the Sarah McLachlan song "I Will Remember You" which plays over the end credits).

Reception[edit]

The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival. It was picked up for distribution by 20th Century Fox and grossed over $10 million at the US box office, making it one of the most profitable independent films of that era. According to Tom Rothman, it was also the first film ever released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, which Tom Rothman started for 20th Century Fox, in order to release Independent, Dramedy, Foreign and Arthouse films, despite being in Hollywood.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 91% rating based on 35 critics.[2]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
What Happened Was
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
1995
Succeeded by
Welcome to the Dollhouse