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White Irish Drinkers (2011)


Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 15
Rotten: 19

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 7
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 2,616


Movie Info

Two young men are looking for a better life but may have to go to the wrong side of the law to get it in this independent drama from director John Gray. Brian Leary (Nick Thurston) and Danny (Geoff Wigdor) are brothers living in a decaying Brooklyn neighborhood in 1975. Tired of dealing with their angry and abusive father (Stephen Lang) and high-strung mother (Karen Allen), both Brian and Danny want to move out and do something different with their lives, but their ambitions travel different … More

R (for pervasive language, some sexuality and violence)
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jul 12, 2011
Screen Media Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for White Irish Drinkers

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (19)

Every kitchen-sink dramatic cliché is trotted out in John Gray's Brooklyn period piece.

Full Review… | April 28, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

A movie that one watches with the sense of pushing it up a hill.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Despite the cliches that push every scene forward, there's an unexpected appeal to John Gray's modest drama, emanating from its center.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The basic outline of the plot, built around a promised local concert by the Rolling Stones - well, if you don't know where that story is headed, you haven't seen as many movies as I think you have.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Writer-director John Gray digs into his own background to create the ardent and atmospheric White Irish Drinkers. The close, cramped intimacy of this film is so real it stings.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

White Irish Drinkers is a heavy borrower deep into the pocket of pop culture's loan shark, and lacking the grace to acknowledge the debt.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A period drama that's as predictable and cliched as green beer on St. Patrick's Day.

Full Review… | June 3, 2011

The dialogue and action in White Irish Drinkers couldn't be more on the nose if the film was intended to be a parody. Sadly, Gray means for us to take it seriously.

Full Review… | May 5, 2011

Under no circumstances would I recommend that you see "White Irish Drinkers." But if you do, a good, stiff belt would not be a bad idea.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Writer-director John Gray was blessed to find the faces of actors Thurston and Murphy.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
East Bay Express

I normally kind of like these sort of modest genre movies, but this is just marinating in its own mediocrity.

Full Review… | April 18, 2011

Veteran TV director John Gray brings little or nothing new to conflicts we've seen in an endless stream of movies, including Saturday Night Fever and (to go straight to the top of the list) Mean Streets.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Christian Science Monitor

White Irish Drinkers is a visceral experience.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Jam! Movies

Here's a 1970s-set film nostalgic for the days young Irish-American men addressed each other as "ya' hump."

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Boston Herald

This is a gritty, dreamy Everyman story, sure to resonate with viewers who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Boston Phoenix

It's an authentic New York slice of life, and the "coming of age" story has depth. The main character is at a crossroads and you'll be rooting for him all the way.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011

White Irish Drinkers contains a cast of characters who are as loud, brash and pugnacious as that title would suggest. They also represent just about every Irish-American stereotype.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011

Audience Reviews for White Irish Drinkers


In Brooklyn in the 70's there's only 2 kinds of people: those stuck there in lower middle class doldrums or those who get out. Although cliched the performances save this trifle about two brothers (one's a crook and one ain't). Stephen Lang does well as the bad parent.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer


Excellent movie! Refreshing script, excellent acting. I really liked the pace of this movie, and the subtle camera work. Fantastic ending, also, which often seals the deal for me when it come to really good movies. Kudos!

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Cast: Nick Thurston, Geoff Wigdor, Karen Allen, Stephen Lang, Peter Riegert, Leslie Murphy, Zachary Booth, Robbie Sublett, Michael Drayer, Henry Zebrowski

Director: John Gray

Summary: In a blue-collar Irish section of 1970s Brooklyn, brothers Danny (Geoff Wigdor) and Brian Leary (Nick Thurston) come of age in a family dominated by their longshoreman father, Patrick (Stephen Lang), whose hard-drinking leaves them scrambling for a way out. As delinquent Danny and dejected mom Margaret (Karen Allen) take the brunt of Patrick's assaults, aspiring artist Brian hides his dreams. But desperate acts will threaten them all.

My Thoughts: "Like so many other films, I went into this one knowing nothing. What I ended up with was a great indie drama. Great acting, great story, and some fun and also intense character's. It's such a heavy story dealing with some very serious issues of alcoholism and physical abuse. It was at times hard to watch or listen as some things were happening. But along with the brutality there was a lot of heart as well. You really start caring for these character's. The bond between these brother's is something special. Danny goes to great lengths to protect Brian. The film definitely brought laughter and some tears. Nick Thurston was charming and funny and just so likable that he reels you in. He did a great job in the movie. Geoffrey Wigdor as Danny was great as well. The whole cast was great. The critics hated it but I of course loved it. For me, it's a must see for sure."


Super Reviewer

While Brian(Nick Thurston) does not mind accompanying his older brother Danny(Geoffrey Wigdor) on his jewlery robberies, he does draw the line at holding onto a gun for him. Otherwise, Brian uses art to distract himself from his abusive father(Stephen Lang) and his mother's(Karen Allen) idiosyncratic cooking and to meet women like Shauna(Leslie Murphy). For money, Brian works part-time at the moribund Lafayette Theatre where its owner Whitey(Peter Riegert) has just landed the Rolling Stones for a one hour concert which may yet save things.

"White Irish Drinkers" is what we mean when we call a movie a mixed bag. On the one hand, you could occupy yourself by playing spot a cliche like brothers heading in opposite directions and incredibly prescient characters in a period piece.(However, one prediction turned out to be wrong since the movie was made.) In other ways, the movie takes full advantage of its time and place, like remembering old movie palaces in a time when New York City, not only Brooklyn, was going to the dogs, forcing many characters to choose between security and any dreams they might have.(What are the chances somebody would be reading the Daily News with the legendary cover, "Ford to NYC: Drop Dead?") To be honest, even if the movie had stopped after Brian's window painting, I would have recommended it, even without all the other cool moments. Plus, everything does neatly dovetail right at the end, rather unexpectedly. That's not to mention the fine work by the young cast, nor my eternal soft spot for Karen Allen.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

White Irish Drinkers Quotes

Do you dare me to take all my clothes off and run through this cemetery naked?
I'm not going to dare you, but I might beg you...
– Submitted by Fred S (3 years ago)
You're not going to ask to draw me naked, are you?
No, I always wear clothes when I draw...
– Submitted by Fred S (3 years ago)
Hey Brian, what's a Irish seven-course meal?
Six pack and a potato.
What, that's not funny?
I heard it.
Gets a laugh down at Clancy's every time.
– Submitted by Fred S (3 years ago)
Where's Pop?
Where do you think he is?
I don't know, maybe a parenting seminar?
– Submitted by Fred S (3 years ago)
We are White Irish Drinkers! We don't do pills, we don't do weed, we don't do needles, we drink...that is what we do!
– Submitted by Fred S (3 years ago)
Danny, I don't want to steal anything anymore. Let's face it. I'm not exactly a criminal mastermind.
I'll teach you. That's what brothers are for.
Not really. But I appreciate the thought.
– Submitted by Melissa P (3 years ago)

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