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Breakfast on Pluto

An Otherworldly Performance

In a world that is often so "serious, serious, serious'", how does one remain true to themselves and stay alive? For Breakfast on Pluto's Patrick "Kitty" Braden, a vivid imagination and a remarkable knack for being in the right place at the right time works pretty well. Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto captures the entertaining and fantastical tale of Kitty's journey through the 60s/70s era British Isles.

Kitty (Cillian Murphy) gets off to a rather inauspicious start as (s)he is dumped unceremoniously on the doorstep of Father Bernard (Liam Neeson) by a blonde housekeeper he had a tryst with. Father Bernard hands Kitty off to pub owner Ma Braden (Ruth McCabe) who grudgingly takes the child in. It becomes apparent quickly that Kitty is a little bit different donning dresses, lipstick, and heels while most of his peers are playing soccer.

Far from being ashamed of her otherness, Kitty embraces it and hits the road in search of someplace that can appreciate someone like herself. Kitty's odyssey includes her short-lived career as a cabaret singer, her streetwalking stint, her gig as a peep room siren, and countless other adventures along the way.

Director Neil Jordan manages to take what could have been a fairly run of the mill biopic and turns it into more of a fairy tale. Our first impressions of Kitty are through the eyes of two gossipy, animated robins. It's a small thing, but it immediately lends levity to a story that could have very easily been quite dark. Kitty's life is no walk in the park and yet Jordan injects Kitty's story with a lightness that is undeniable.

Complementing Jordan's able directing hand is the stellar performance of Cillian Murphy. Murphy has had quite a year playing the villainous "Scarecrow" in Batman Begins, playing yet another villain in Red Eye, and rounding out the year with his best performance in Breakfast on Pluto. Murphy turns in a performance rivaling Philip Seymour Hoffman's inCapote. Murphy is completely believable as the flighty and gender confused, Kitty. If Breakfast on Pluto doesn't make Cillian Murphy a star, I don't know what will.

While it's a far cry from The Crying Game, Breakfast on Pluto is for the most part a solidly entertaining fairy tale about the eccentric Kitty Braden. For anyone who feels "different", Breakfast on Pluto is bound to inspire as we see Kitty transcend overwhelming societal pressure to conform and a myriad of hard knocks en route to becoming herself.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars