Making the Grades
In the Irish hamlet of Tulaigh Morh, you could hardly blow your nose without the neighbors knowing, so when word gets out that someone in town has won the big lottery prize, people will go to any length to find the winner. Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly) decide to hold a chicken dinner and invite everyone. Certainly a new multi-millionaire won't be able to hold his cards so close as to not give away his good fortune -- in more ways than one.
But when Jackie and Michael can't come up with the winner, they turn to deduction. Who's missing? Only Ned Devine. Hurrying to his house they find Ned in front of his television clutching the winning lottery ticket... and dead. In a moment of panic the two friends launch a plan that will allow them to claim the money on Ned's behalf, reasoning that Ned was such a nice guy, he'd want that to happen anyway.
The movie owes a lot of its charm to the quaint Irish locations where it was filmed. Scenes take place in rural homes with natural light and the performers (none of who are instantly recognizable in America) solicit instant appeal from the audience with their natural delivery. David Kelly is especially engaging, playing an elderly gentleman who is quickly getting painted in a corner he can't get out of. And a scene with him riding nude on a motorcycle had the audience I screened with in hysterics.
So why the C grade? The non-sexual male nudity and many terms of deity spoken in vain are the major content issues in the film, but that aside, the main theme of this movie is that honesty isn't the best policy. Even more concerning is the plot eventually involves the whole town, making the attempt to steal the dead Ned's winnings seem even more justifiable.
Children aren't likely to be begging for this title anyway, but just in case, give it a view before you set the family in front of the telly.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Waking Ned Devine.
Change the outcome! After Maggie Tooley makes her confession near the end of the film, what could she have done so the money could be legally given to the townspeople?