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A Man of No Importance

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A Man of No Importance

Current Status:
In Season
Albert Finney, Brenda Fricker

We gave it a B-

A Man of No Importance starts out appealingly enough. But director Suri Krishnamma’s sentimental character study of Alfie (Albert Finney), a repressed bus conductor in 1963 Dublin, can’t sustain the weight of its own moral pretensions. Alfie is smitten in equal measure with his young bus-driving colleague (Rufus Sewell) and with Oscar Wilde; he’s also terrified of (to quote Wilde’s lover) ”the Love that dare not speak its name.” By the time Alfie comes out (big time, looking like Quentin Crisp) and his good neighbors in 1963 Dublin learn about sexual tolerance (reality check, please), the heavy life lessons have crushed the story’s eggshell thinness and dissipated Finney’s tender, masterful work. The cast, though, is crackerjack, including Brenda Fricker as Alfie’s spinster sister, Michael Gambon as a conservative butcher, and Tara Fitzgerald as a young woman who is not as pure as Alfie innocently wishes her to be. B-