“BREAKFAST ON PLUTO”
“Breakfast on Pluto” is a wonderful little movie from Neil Jordan who gave us “The Crying Game”. Set in Britain during the 1960s and 70s. It is the story of Patrick “Kitten” Braden, played by Cillian Murphy (in an electrifying tour de force performance_. Kitten is an orphan from a small Irish town and his dream is to escape the drabness of country life. As if being an orphan doesn’t classify him as an outsider, he begins to cross dress and become Kitten; an androgynous character with this he enters the outside world. He eventually ends up sharing a trailer with a traveling musician who is hiding weapons which as used by the I.R.A.Through all the brouhaha, Kitten stays optimistic, even in the face of harsh degradation.
This is Cillian Murphy’s movie. He is fantastic and manages to achieve an ethereal glow as he transitions into womanhood. It is as if Jordan is showing how a person can survive in the face of overwhelming odds. Kitten constantly sees the world as a beautiful place even when it is blowing up around her. This is a dark comedy with political themes and the mixture of social pressures and madness enhance the theme.
As Kitten embarks on a tragicomic journey it is England and Ireland that are the background for all of his misadventures. You would think that the story of an abandoned orphan would be sad but actually it is a comedy. One scene that stands out in my mind is the one in which Kitten’s mother comes home and finds him dressed in his stepsister’s clothes.
Kitten/Patrick has a price to pay. During the incident with the clothing, Patrick realizes that his “mother” is not his biological mother—the way she curses the day she took him in convinced him of that and it is then that he decides to find his real mother. He travels to where she is rumored to live but a trek like tat is not easy for an openly gay youth. As he sashays through life, he is constantly finding trouble. But his philosophy of having nothing is having nothing to lose keeps him going.
He is a good person and when he cross dresses he seems to be natural.
The supporting cast is every bit as good as Murphy as Kitten. Liam Neeson as the priest that finds the abandoned Patrick on his doorstep is marvelous and Ruth Negga, as Charlie, Patrick’s childhood friend, compliments Murphy. She is also different than the ones around her and the two form a mutually acceptable arrangement/
The Irish brogue of the actors is a bit difficult to understand at first but as time passes it becomes intelligible. This is a wonderfully offbeat film and is a delight. Put it on your list of to-sees.