In Circle of Friends Benny and Eve grow up together in a small Irish town. Benny is a plain girl with a large heart and parents who dote on her. Eve is a strong-willed orphan raised in a convent by nuns.
When they go off to university in Dublin, these two friends are caught in the orbit of Nan, a childhood acquaintance whose beauty and social graces have made her popular on campus. She introduces Benny to the dashing and handsome Jack Foley, star of the rugby team. They inch their way into a romantic relationship.
Circle of Friends is beautifully directed by Pat O'Connor and adapted by Andrew Davies from Maeve Binchy's 1991 novel. Minnie Driver is just right as the gawky, sensitive, and big-hearted Benny. She captures all the anguish and magic of that difficult period in life when girls hover precariously between adolescence and womanhood. Benny courageously faces the enchantments and disappointments of friendship, the ecstasies of first love, the frustration with parental control, and the struggle with difficult questions related to sexuality. Squaring off with these experiences Benny blooms before our eyes into a very special woman.
Circle of Friends is a wry, wise, and wonderful valentine to intimate matters of the heart.