Sometimes, amassing wealth can be a matter of luck. Sometimes, it’s a concerted effort. In this charming Irish comedy, it’s both.
The tiny village of Tulaigh Mhor (Tullymore) is definitely not the most interesting place on Earth, but excitement comes to town when Jackie O’Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly), lifelong friends, learn that the latest winner of the Irish National Lottery is a Tullymore local. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the winner turns out to be Ned Devine (Jimmy Keogh), their good friend, who is discovered dead in his home, happiness on his face, and the winning ticket in his hand, shock having taken him.
Jackie and Michael then hatch a plan to go and collect Ned’s personal information so that they can claim his prize and share it among his friends. But this proves easier said that done and soon, Michael is forced to impersonate the late Ned and everyone else in their town of 52 is forced participate in the rouse, everyone working for their share of a £7 million pot. All but one person: Lizzie Quinn (Eileen Dromey).
Besides the group effort of fooling the claim inspector, everyone has to work together to keep miserable old Lizzie from spilling the beans, lest her warped sense of propriety leave everyone in varying degrees of poverty and discontent. With a prize which could change all of their lives at stake, this village comes together and goes above and beyond to make sure that the inspector doesn’t doubt for a second that Ned is alive.
As we watch these people work towards their one big chance, we see secrets come to light, others get buried, and (nearly) everyone put their difference aside and rise to the occasion. These friends, family, and enemies become not divided by money, but closer than ever. Waking Ned Devine is the rare story of money bringing out the best, rather than the worst, in a community.
I give this one 4.25 stars.