Elderly Ned Devine lands a windfall of over 6 million pounds in the Irish lottery. There's only one problem—he's dead and he signed the back of his ticket before he died so no one else can claim the prize. But that doesn't stop his lifelong friends, Jackie O' Shea and Michael O' Sullivan, from crafting what they think is the perfect plan to claim the winnings in the charming 1998 film, Waking Ned Devine.
Jackie talks Michael into impersonating Ned to get the cash. He observes the irony of Ned the fisherman dying from the shock of winning the lottery and delivers one of my favorite lines in the film—"He survived all those storms only to be swept away by a few lottery balls."
The cast of quirky characters drives the story. Besides the two old friends, we get to know the back stories of a few others in the small village of 52 people—Pig Finn, a pig farmer whose lady love Maggie won't marry him until he ditches the pigs, Annie, Jackie's wife who tries to keep her husband on the straight and narrow for a time, a scooter-riding harpy and a pub full of endearing denizens.
This film plays on stereotypes albeit lovingly. Admittedly, the story is predictable but you generally expect that with feel-good, light comedies. You could argue against the seemingly low morals of the protagonists, but I think you have to take it as the fantasy it's meant to be. You have to suspend your skepticism a bit to enjoy the movie and believe in the fairy tale for about an hour and a half. Even the film doesn't seem to take itself too seriously. I'm a huge fan of Irish TV and films including the hilarious and irreverent television series, Father Ted, so I understand and appreciate the humor. There's love, life, death (wake and all), whiskey and a bit of just desserts being served to finish it off. I love it!
FTC disclosure: I rented Waking Ned Devine from Netflix or you can find it at Amazon: Waking Ned Devine