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Film / Breakfast on Pluto

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"If I wasn't a transvestite terrorist...would you marry me?"

Kitten: And the other thing about the Phantom Lady was, Bert, she realized, in the city that never sleeps...that all the songs she'd listened to - all the love songs - that they were only songs.
Bertie: What's wrong with that?
Kitten: Nothing, if you don't believe in them. But she did, you see. She believed in enchanted evenings, and she believed that a small cloud passed overhead and cried down on a flower bed, and she even believed there was breakfast to be had...
Bertie: Where?
Kitten: On Pluto. The mysterious, icy wastes of Pluto.

Breakfast on Pluto is a 2005 movie directed by Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire, The Crying Game), adapted from the critically acclaimed novel by Patrick McCabe.

The film stars Cillian Murphy as Patricia Braden, a transgender orphan also known as “Kitten", growing up in rural Ireland near the border with Stroke Country in the 1970s. Ostracised in her hometown and obsessed with the secrets surrounding her birth, she heads off to London in search of the mother who abandoned her.

Also stars Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Ruth Negga, and Brendan Gleeson.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Name Change: In the book, Patricia's nickname was "Pussy".
  • Berserk Button: John Joe is prone to psychotic outbursts.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The bizarre story Kitten writes in class about her conception.
  • Break the Cutie: Kitten begins the movie with self-esteem and confidence despite her difficult background, but by the middle of the movie she doesn't care if she lives or dies. Thankfully, this has changed by the end of the film.
  • The Cameo: Bryan Ferry makes a brief appearance as a rather creepy and murderous "customer" of Kitten's.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Kitten. She often behaves quite bizarrely and has an extremely unique take on the world, building up an elaborate pseudo-mythology around herself. At times, she seems to genuinely believe she’s living a fairy tale (to the point of full-blown Sanity Slippage) but there are moments when she shows real insight into her situation and basically admits that she clings to her fantasies because of the harsh realities of the world that are too painful to confront without some kind of coping mechanism:
    Mr. Silky String: And just who is this "Phantom Lady"?
    Kitten: Well, it's my mother really. I call her that... to pretend it's a story... that's happening to someone else, you see?
    Mr. Silky String: Why do you pretend that?
    Kitten: Because otherwise, I might cry and never stop.
  • Costume Porn: Befitting the time period, Kitten and many other characters get nice outfits throughout.
  • Creator Cameo: Patrick McCabe (the author of the original novel) makes a cameo as "Peepers" Egan, the schoolteacher who yells at Kitten for writing a pornographic story.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Charlie. Also, Kitten at times, somehow manages to combine this with elements of The Cutie, the Cloudcuckoolander, and The Pollyanna.
  • Doorstop Baby: Kitten was left on Father Liam's doorstep as a baby, and was sent to live with an unloving foster mother, Ma Braden.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: As seen on the page picture, Cillian Murphy makes for a convincing lady.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the hardships she goes through, Kitten makes a happy life for herself, and she, Charlie, and Charlie's son become a happy family together.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Cillian Murphy as Kitten, both in and out of universe. Or should it be Even the Girls Want Her? Either way, everyone is very confused and aroused.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Charlie travels to London to have an abortion. Kitten accompanies Charlie to the clinic, assuring her that she's making the right decision, fearing the child might end up a "disaster" like Kitten herself. Charlie decides against it at the last second- turns out she wouldn't mind at all if the child ended up like Kitten.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Kitten during her street-walking days.
  • How We Got Here: The movie begins with Kitten in London recounting her life's story to Charlie's baby son.
  • Improvised Weapon: When one of Kitten's "clients" tries to kill her, she defeats him by spraying Chanel no. 5 in his eyes. It works, and it's justified by the fact that the chemicals in the perfume would hurt if directly sprayed into one's eyes.
    • Humorously reference later on in a fantasy sequence where secret agent Kitten takes down a hardened IRA cell with her "anti-terrorist spray".
  • Ireland: Kitten and her friends grew up near the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, in County Cavan. In London, she meets other Irish immigrants (including John Joe, who offers her a job purely because she's Irish like him) and faces anti-Irish bigotry from the police.
  • Kill the Cutie: Lawrence, the sweet kid with Down's Syndrome.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Robins, would you believe it, Father! Pecking at the cream."
  • Missing Mom: The film's narrative is basically driven by Kitten's desperate search for the mother who abandoned her.
  • Mr. Imagination: Kitten is prone to letting her imagination run wild. It's partially a smokescreen to protect herself from the pains of her life.
  • Parental Abandonment: Both of Kitten's parents, though she does reconcile with her father later on.
  • Pet the Dog: The two police officers who were questioning Kitten seem to grow fond of her, and one of them even finds a job for her at a peep show in order to keep her off the streets.
  • The Pollyanna: Kitten, much of the time. Though the mask does slip on a fair few occasions.
  • Porn Stache: Mr. Silky String.
  • Random Events Plot: While the overarching story revolves around Kitten's quest to look for her biological mother, much of the movie consists of Kitten stumbling through life and trying to make sense of the chaos around her.
  • Sanity Slippage: During the police interrogation scene, Kitten has all but lost her mind (understandable, as she'd been beaten to a pulp and not allowed to sleep for days).
  • The '70s: The main story takes place in this time period.
  • The Troubles: The real-life context of the Troubles provides a backdrop to the film. Kitten's first boyfriend was an ardent Irish Republican involved in paramilitary activity, one of her childhood friends is killed by a car bomb (which could have been planted by Republicans or Loyalists), and another one of her childhood friends becomes a member of the IRA and later, after the British army threaten his girlfriend, becomes an informant, leading to his execution by another IRA member. Kitten's arrest for planting a bomb in a nightclub is reminiscent of the Guilford Four case, immortalized on film in In the Name of the Father.
  • Title Drop: Twice.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kitten at certain moments, though she often has little choice but to wander into life-threatening situations. Still, her sudden decision to throw Billy Hatchet's guns in the lake was obviously going to have dire consequences. Then again, she was extremely upset at the time due to Lawrence's death and probably wasn't thinking rationally there. Plus, she doesn't ever really seem to quite follow the same logic as the rest of the world.
  • True Companions: Kitten, Charlie, Erwin, and Lawrence when they were growing up. At the end of the film there's another one consisting of Kitten, Charlie, Charlie's baby, and probably Father Liam.
  • The Un-Favourite: Ma Braden blatantly prefers Kitten's "sister", Caroline. Possibly because she adheres to conventional gender roles.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Most probably the case.
  • The Unreveal: In-Universe, Kitten chooses not to reveal her identity to her mother, who has moved on with her life and had another child.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: In-Universe. The police take Kitten to hospital after the club she's dancing in is bombed by the IRA. Initially, they're concerned and sympathetic, but as her clothes are cut away in the hospital they realize she's transgender, or "crossdressing". Cue an arrest for terrorism and a series of sensationalist tabloid headlines.
    • Subverted with Bertie, who doesn't take issue with Kitten being transgender.