I've always been a bit hard on Edward Burns, but only because I think he has potential as a filmmaker. In my opinion, there's no one else out there right now who knows how to capture New York the way Eddie does. The man lives for this city; it is, and will always be, his muse. However, because he always insists upon wearing so many different hats (writer, director, star and sometimes producer) during each of his films, something always suffers. And as I've approached each one, I sort of go in wondering what Eddie will screw up this time. Will it be a poorly-written script? Wooden acting? Bad direction? All of the above? That being said, I'm happy to report that Purple Violets is his best film since The Brothers McMullen (the 1995 Sundance hit that helped launch Eddie's career behind the camera). It's genuine, it's from the heart and -- I can't believe I'm saying this about an Edward Burns film -- it includes terrific performances from well-written female characters.
When I told a friend of mine that I was going to see the new Eddie Burns film Purple Violets, they were immediately turned off -- as if a bad odor had just entered the room. "You mean, Eddie directed a film called Purple Violets? I don't get it, did he have a sex change operation? Is he now a woman? What's up with that girly title?" For those that love Eddie for his take on masculine Irish-American life in the blue-collar suburbs of New York, Purple Violets might not go down as smoothly as that pint of Coors Light. Yet, the beauty of this film lies in its title. Purple and violet are often confused as being the same color, but they're not. It's almost like meeting someone with whom you were friends with 12 years ago, and trying to re-establish the same type of relationship you had with them back then. However, they've changed, you've changed and while on the surface you both kind of look the same, inside you're both very different people. Thus is the premise for Purple Violets: Four old friends reunite after 12 years apart, while attempting to heal old wounds and ignite new memories.