By Peter McDermott
"An Everlasting Piece," the film produced by County Cork native Jerome O’Connor and written by Barry McEvoy from Belfast, which went on limited release on Christmas Day, has garnered favorable early reviews in New York’s daily papers.
The New York Post deemed the film about two hairpiece salesmen in 1980s Belfast "a surprising laugh riot." The paper said of the two leads: "McEvoy and [Brian F.] O’Byrne, whose characters are continually at odds, play beautifully off each other."
The Daily News was the least enthusiastic of the city’s four papers, giving it two and a half stars in its four-star rating system.
Newsday, however, awarded it three and a half stars in its four-star rating system, saying that the film was "beautifully written by Barry McEvoy and directed with abundant care by Barry Levinson." The paper added: "Levinson has found two captivating and charismatic team players in McEvoy and O’Byrne, who connect naturally from their first scene together."
Newsday concluded: "At once humane and miraculously even-handed, ‘An Everlasting Piece’ hangs tall as one of Levinson’s best films."
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The New York Times said that Levinson, who won an Oscar for "Rain Man," hasn’t lost "the scrappy wit and wry sense of humor that distinguish work like ‘Wag the Dog’ and ‘Tin Men’ and the early episodes of the NBC series of ‘Homicide.’ Those qualities are happily evident in his new film . . . "
The Times said: " ‘An Everlasting Piece’ belongs to a sturdy and popular subgenre: the scruffy Anglo-Celtic kitchen-sink comedy, which has lately seemed to stumble into a state of terminal tweeness with the release of movies like ‘Waking Ned Devine.’ . . . Luckily, Mr. McEvoy’s script owes a solid debt to Bill Forsyth, the Scottish director who made a series of understated, eccentric comedies — among them ‘Comfort and Joy,’ ‘Gregory’s Girl’ and ‘Local Hero’ — around the time ‘Everlasting Piece’ takes place."
The Times reviewer argued that the film handles the Northern Ireland Troubles with skill. He wrote: "[T]he film doesn’t underestimate the political seriousness of the conflict, and avoids the glutinous sentimentality that has sometimes marred Mr. Levinson’s explorations of ethnic friction on this side of the Atlantic."