Ok, so you dig the fancy clothes and acerbic wit of Barbie, but you also want to enjoy the acting prowess of Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer; why watch two movies when you can get your fix from just one? Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto is an adaptation of Patrick McCabe’s 1998 novel, and despite top talent, didn’t gain much traction with audiences on initial release; Murphy’s rising star should attract his new fanbase to this salty, unique tale of transgender and personal development.
Set back in the anything-goes period that we now know as the 1970’s, Jordan’s serio-comic tale depicts the journey of self-discovery taken by transgender waif Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden, played by a fully-committed Cillian Murphy. Braden is searching for his mother in London, with Liam Neeson’s priest (Father Liam) amongst those he meets on his travels; this is a Neil Jordan film, so you’d expect Stephen Rea and Paddington 2 star Brendan Gleeson alongside Neeson in the cast, and indeed they are.
Ruth Negga is perhaps a more surprising performer to find among the cheeky surrealism of Breakfast on Pluto, but Jordan shows that diversity might as well be his middle name. How about Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry as a sinister serial killer known as Mr Silky String? Not diverse enough? Well, since you asked, we’ll throw in an appearance from vintage BBC children’s programme stars The Wombles? We’ll throw in a Dalek as well, but that’s your lot for now.
Murphy didn’t get a chance to really shine in a flurry of big budget films (Inception, Transcendence, In Time), but Breakfast on Pluto gave some idea of what he’s capable of, allowing him to pick up a Golden Globe nomination in the process. Jordan has fun with the uber-glam musical and fashion styles of the 1970’s, but the nub of the film is a heartfelt plea for understanding of transgender issues that’s well-delivered without recourse to piety or pathos.