Posts Tagged: Ireland
Faithful Place is not picture perfect Ireland. It is grim, Frank’s father is a nasty wife beating alcoholic and Frank’s brothers and sisters are highly dysfunctional. The neighbors generally distain the Mackey family and distrust of the police is high. How Frank comes to terms with his past and his intense love for Rosie in the solution of the crime creates great pacing and character development. The steadfastness of Frank supports the structure of the novel. The novel’s strength lies not only in the suspense but in French’s forceful examination of family dynamics in contemporary Ireland.
Yes, it’s a cutsie rom com. We know this because there are two good-looking, youngish people starring in the film and on the cover of the DVD, etc, plus there is instant sexual chemistry, though, naturally, the two do not like each other at first. Your typical rom com fare. Here the good-looking couple who are determined NOT to fall in love are Amy Adams (so irresistibly perky and vibrant) and Matthew Goode (so brooding…doing his best “I do not want to be lovable” routine). The two of them almost make us forget that not only have we “sort of” seen this type of material before, we have seen almost EXACTLY the same material in a 1995 Lawrence Kasdan film, French Kiss with rom con queen Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. There, Ryan, like Adams, runs off to follow her boyfriend abroad where she meets Kline, a Frenchman, and naturally nature takes its course and soon the boyfriend is forgotten and Kline is the ONE! So, Goode is Irish not French and plotwise, the boyfriend in French Kiss met another woman in Paris and in Leap Year, it’s that said boyfriend hasn’t proposed yet. But, still, they are pretty similar. And, to top that off, I LOVE French Kiss. It’s one of my favorite films from the 1990s and definitely one of my favorite contemporary romantic comedies. And I still like Leap Year, with its copied and clichéd characters, plot, etc.? Yes, I do. Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are so likeable (separately, but mostly together) that we do not care that we already know the ending and have heard much of the dialogue and seen much of the plot before. Another bonus here is Ireland…the lush scenery, the vistas, the gloom and rain… Well, you can’t have sunshine everyday, right? Think again – it’s sunshiny everyday in Romantic Comedy Land.
A light, comical film that is like a breath of fresh air in the stuffy world of cinema. This one never, ever takes itself to seriously…even with a tremendous cast of some of the finest actresses ever. Yet, it’s not laugh-out-loud funny…it’s a quiet, subtle film that keeps the audience smiling and guessing. Joan Plowright stars as the matriarch of a section of a town in Ireland known as Widow’s Peak, since all of the residents of the “section” are widows. Mia Farrow plays a woman who’s a bit out of her league among the widows but they include her anyway (we later find out why) and Natasha Richardson plays a wealthy American from England whose husband died and left her with money and a streak of viciousness. Plowright plays her air of superiority perfectly…she’s not too over-the-top but she’s just daft enough to make it seem convincing. Richardson is perfect…I honestly did not expect it when she did mean-spirited things…though I bought it just enough as the plot wants us to (since the surprise ending fits all of the pieces together). Mia Farrow, at first, seemed a little out of place to me as an Irish widow, but after watch a bit I totally forgot I was watching an American actress putting on an accent. The entire film is just a pleasure to watch…it’s funny when it needs to be and exciting at times. A true treasure!
A touching, heartfelt film that does a perfect job of not being too sappy or weepy. I mean, I cried, but I don’t think this film intentionally takes the audience on a “false” emotional roller coaster. In this film, all of the emotions are sincere and come from the remarkable performances and the delicately-tuned script. The story is basically about two men…Michael is content at a home for the disabled until Rory comes to live there. Rory is paralyzed from the neck down and Michael has Cerebral Palsy and is barely verbal, though Rory can understand him perfectly. Rory makes Michael see how unfulfilling life at the home is and introduces Michael to the world of pubs, women and independence. Michael and Rory’s are two lost souls…Michael is unaware that he is a lost soul and Rory is painfully and VERY bitterly aware that he is lost forever—lost in world of movement and mobility. Together, these two men teach each other so much about life and love and respect. They are good and bad for each other at the same time…when Michael moves out of the home and into an apartment with Michael, I was SO UPSET. I thought this would lead to NOTHING positive for both men. But, the independence Michael develops and the love he feels for both the nurse they hire to care for them (romantic love) and for Rory (platonic love) teaches him so much about life…things he never would have learned by just staying in the home. Even though some of these lessons lead to heartache, they enrich both Rory’s and Michael’s lives immensely. This is a hard film to watch without feeling that emotional roller coaster but at least in this case, the ride is realistic and worth it.
I re-watched this one recently and was reminded what a good thriller it really is. Harrison Ford is in his peak here and Tom Clancy’s work has never been sharper and better. Based on the Clancy novel, Ford plays Jack Ryan, former CIA and current instructor at Annapolis…aside from devoted father and husband. While on a business trip to London with his family, he stumbles into an IRA fringe group’s plot to do some damage to the British royals. Ryan kills one of the terrorists, saving the lives of the Royals but making an enemy for life of the dead man’s brother. Filled with tension and just enough lightness to soften the ride some, this film is just as sharp as it was when I saw it in the theater in 1992. If movies are good, they stand the test of time and only get better. This one proves that even political thrillers can stand the tests of time…if done right.
Based on true events, this sure tearjerker tells the story of an Irish father in the 1950s who loses his kids through circumstances beyond his control and fights to get them back. The subject matter itself makes this story a tough one to film…too much sappiness might drive the audience away and too little sappiness makes the story fall short of its emotional mark. With the help of Pierce Brosnan (who plays the father) and the rest of the cast, Evelyn succeeds in not being too overly syrupy while still retaining enough tenderness to give the audience both tears in their eyes or lumps in their throats (or both). A charming, feel-good film that the entire family can watch and enjoy together.
One of the more delightful surprises in fiction in recent years, this Keyes book was a beach read that turned out to be a little more than that. I’ve read quite a few of Keyes books before but this one is probably my favorite of hers…it’s fresh and engaging and simply delightful. Told from the POV of three London ladies: 1. Gemma, who has a neurotic mother and is still mourning the loss of her stolen-out-from-under-her-by-her-best-friend boyfriend…2. Lily, who is the best friend who stole Gemma’s boyfriend…and 3. Jojo, a literary agent who ends up representing both Gemma and Lily. I loved the way Keyes weaved all three stories together…yet giving each of the 3 enough space for us to get to know them all. Even though each change of character is marked with the ladies’ name before the chapter, towards the end, we knew each of the three enough to know whose part we were reading. A great way to tell a fun, entertaining story!