The unexpected death of her husband sends a woman and her seven children, ages 2-14, into emotional turmoil and financial crisis in 1967 Dublin. She is forced toborrow money from a ruthless loan shark to make ends meet. She faces her dismal existence by selling fruits and vegetables at an open air market where she spends time with a best friend who gives her encouragement. Wishing to escape her existence, if only for a short time, she dreams of finding enough money to attend an upcoming Tom Jones concert. She realizes her dream by accepting her first date with a French baker. Her kids pool their money so she can buy a new dress. Of course, eventually the family has to face the loan shark, but this is a movie where obstacles are maybe too easily overcome.
Singer Cliff Richard was due to have a cameo in the movie, but Cliff, who is known to be deeply religious, wanted a guarantee that none of the children would say the word "fuck" in the movie. When they refused to change a word of the script, Cliff dropped out and was replaced by Tom Jones.
Brendan O'Carroll, who wrote the novel on which the movie is based, has a cameo in the movie as a drunken man who appears frequently.
Jennifer Gibney, who went on to play Cathy Brown in the TV series, plays the role of Winnie the Mackerel.
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