The Snapper comes from the second novel in Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy (after The Commitments and before The Van), three shaggy-dog tales loosely linked by the fictional working-class Dublin neighborhood where they take place. On screen, the three films are also linked by the bellowing, good-humored presence of Colm Meaney as a family patriarch. (In each film, however, the character has a different name, thanks to rights issues, since each movie was made by a different production company.)
In The Snapper, Dee (Meaney) learns that his unmarried daughter, Sharon (Tina Kellegher) is pregnant by a man she refuses to name. Dee is outraged at first, but he soon decides to be a more supportive dad. To that end, he studies up on female anatomy (much to the appreciation of his wife) and defends his daughter’s honor against the local gossips. Director Stephen Frears balances moments of sentimentality with raucous humor as the delivery approaches.
Neither as musical as The Commitments nor as dramatic as The Van (also directed by Frears), The Snapper is the warmest, funniest movie of the three. Just as he holds the trilogy together, Meaney proves the glue that keeps his family together as well.