Circle of Friends (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

Circle of Friends1994

Circle of Friends (1994)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Circle of Friends Photos

Movie Info

Set in 1957, this romantic coming-of-age story follows three childhood friends from a small town in Ireland as they head to Dublin to attend Trinity College. Nan (Saffron Burrows), a year older than her friends and already in her second year at Trinity, is ambitious, romantic, and just a bit reckless. She hopes to win the hand of Simon (Colin Firth), an older Protestant land-owner who would help her rise up the social and economic ladder. Eve (Geraldine O'Rawe), a bit more pragmatic and cautious, finds herself falling for a boy named Aidan (Aidan Gillen). Bernadette (Minnie Driver), called "Benny" by her friends and family, comes from strict parents who won't allow her to live on campus, forcing her to commute back and forth from classes every day. Bennie's father, a haberdasher, has always expected that his daughter, a bit plainer and plumper than her friends, will marry his shop's manager, an odd duck named Sean (Alan Cumming). But at Trinity, Bennie discovers that she fancies a tall, good-looking rugby player named Jack (Chris O'Donnell), and to the surprise of Bennie and everyone else, it turns out that Jack fancies her as well. Circle of Friends gave Minnie Driver her breakthrough film role after her initial success as a television actress in Britain.


Colin Firth
as Simon Westward
Mick Lally
as Dan Hogan
Ciarán Hinds
as Prof. Flynn
Seamus Ford (II)
as Parish Priest
Seamus Forde
as Parish Priest
Tony Boyle
as Dr. Foley
Tom Hickey
as Prof. Maclure
Britta Smith
as Mrs. Hogan
John Kavanagh
as Brian Mahon
Ingrid Craigle
as Celia Westward
Ingrid Craigie
as Celia Westward
Ruth McCabe
as Emily Mahon
Tony Doyle
as Dr. Foley
Pauline Delaney
as Big House Maid
Marie Mullen
as Mrs. Foley
Marie Conmee
as Mrs. Healy
Gerry Walsh
as Mr. Flood
Sean McGinley
as Mr. Duggan
Major Lambert
as Major Westward
Pauline Delany
as Big House Maid
Jason Barry
as Nasey Mahon
Edward Manning
as Paul Mahon
Phil Kelly
as Hibernian Waiter
Stephen Rooney
as Bill Dunne
Cathy Belton
as Moaning Girl
Tanya Cawley
as Rugby Girl
Niamh O'Byrne
as Dancing Girl
Dervla O'Farrell
as Benny (age 10)
Pamela Cardillo
as Nan (age 10)
Louise Maher
as Eve (age 10)
Karen O'Neill
as 1st Little Girl
Elaine Dunphy
as 2nd Little Girl
Emma Lannon
as 3rd Little Girl
Eliza Dear
as 3rd Nun
View All

Critic Reviews for Circle of Friends

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (13)

Three female friends grow up in a small town in Ireland in the mid-50s and attend college in Dublin in this nostalgic soap opera that's vaguely evocative of Peyton Place, though generally less memorable.

March 11, 2008 | Full Review…

Old-fashioned and nostalgic, Pat O'Connor's nicely directed tale of friendship between three Irish girls features a strong central performance from Minnie Driver that promises a bright future in Hollywood pictures.

April 27, 2007 | Rating: C+
Top Critic

The fizzing dialogue gets all the little details right, but the plot's nothing new, and the lingering shots of hibernian greenery aim straight for mid-Atlantic bland-out.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

Beyond eliciting warm, animated performances from his actors (with a cast that also includes Alan Cumming as a hair-raising suitor of Benny's), Mr. O'Connor gives Circle of Friends an enveloping look and sound.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5

Driver's tough core of honesty and wit is bewitching. So's the movie.

May 12, 2001

Young Benny has a nice smile, and she and Jack seem like pleasant people, but in the end (and in the beginning and in the middle) it's hard to get worked up about them.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Circle of Friends

If you like coming-of-age films, this one is great. 'Circle' follows three girlfriends from Confirmation through university. Minnie Driver is wonderful as Benny, the plain one. It is also interesting to see these actors - Minnie, Chris O'Donnell, Colin Firth, etc. in early roles in their careers.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer


Excellent adaptation of Maeve Binchy's novel. Minnie is brilliant.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer


Minnie Driver fans will want to see this for a look at her pre-Hollywood work. She gained 30 pounds for this role and still looks great. Colin Firth fans may want to skip this one, but Alan Cumming fans might want to see what a truly creepy character he can play. Chris O'Donnell . . . well, as usual, nothing much to write home to mother about.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

Circle of Friends Quotes

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