Ondine – A Thoughtful Review of this New Film

4 06 2010

June 3, 2010

Fantasy is never just escape in the films of Irish writer-director Neil Jordan. It enlarges, rises above, dips way below reality and redeems the sorrowful life — or, in the words of one smart, plucky and imaginative little girl in Jordan’s new movie Ondine, “the world we have to live in.”

That world is plenty fraught for Annie (a cheekily assured Alison Barry), whose compromised liver forces her to get about in a wheelchair. Her alcoholic mother (Dervla Kirwan) lives with a similarly sodden boyfriend, but she vehemently withholds joint custody from Annie’s father, Syracuse (Colin Farrell), a fisherman and former lush himself who stopped drinking to care for the daughter he adores.

In every other respect, Syracuse lives in a well of self-imposed loneliness. Delectable even when hidden beneath a woolly cap, lank hair and a depressive’s mumble, Farrell brings to Syracuse the bad-little-boy-lost vulnerability that has endeared the actor to women of all ages.

Where Syracuse has all but given up on life, his daughter, like all quality kids who worship at the altar of Lewis Carroll, brings to her dreary reality a cheerfully instinctive acceptance of the hazy boundaries between the everyday and the magical. So when a lithe maiden with a funny accent pitches up in Syracuse’s otherwise empty fishing net, coughing seawater, Annie recognizes her at once as the selkie of Irish legend. A hybrid creature well known to fans of John Sayles’ lovely 1994 movie The Secret of Roan Inish, the selkie sheds her seal coat to venture ashore. There, willy-nilly, she ratchets up the drama in a glum community that doesn’t exactly put out the welcome mat for uninvited guests, let alone ones who go braless and dripping with erotic promise.

Read the Rest of this NPR.ORG Review Here:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127351648

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