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The Eclipse (2010)

tomatometer

75

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 84
Fresh: 63 | Rotten: 21

An intriguingly unusual ghost story, Conor McPherson's Eclipse blends supernatural suspense with romance to create a satisfying, character-driven whole.

83

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 4

An intriguingly unusual ghost story, Conor McPherson's Eclipse blends supernatural suspense with romance to create a satisfying, character-driven whole.

audience

48

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 1,311

My Rating

Movie Info

Michael Farr is a widower living in a misty Irish seaside town who is struggling to adjust to his new role as the sole caretaker of his two children. Still reeling from the death of his wife, he has been plagued by terrifying apparitions. When he volunteers at a local literary festival, he finds he finds himself drawn to Lena Morelle, an empathetic author of supernatural fiction. While Lena tries to help Michael with the mystery of his nightmarish visions, she must contend with problems of her

Jun 29, 2010

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All Critics (84) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (21) | DVD (3)

The whole thing would probably have flown apart if not for Hinds, whose character, like a dark star imploding, pulls everything toward him.

January 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quinn, alternately charming and loathsome, is brilliant, as is Hinds, an actor who has elevated everything he's been in.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

McPherson brews a strangely appealing composite, a movie that is mostly character-driven romance but that seasons the proceedings with timely scare-your-pants-off moments of horror.

May 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In his quiet house hung with portraits of those who have become ghosts, Michael finally learns to mourn, and we realize that storytelling is how a writer grieves.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The town and surrounding landscapes make a gorgeous setting -- the Irish tourist board will be happy -- but at its heart The Eclipse is a small, contained ghost story about a haunted man learning to exorcise himself.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hinds has been ready for a role of this size and shape for years; it was simply a matter of finding it, and its finding him.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

When the ghost story moments are in the forefront, it manages a strong and creepy sense of foreboding. I just wished that would have been the focus from beginning to end.

January 20, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

The Eclipse is wholly, if strangely, cinematic; its dream-like tonal and narrative unpredictability, interspersed with a few completely jarring horror-film moments, make for an experience that will, yes, haunt audiences for a long time to come.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

When the ghost story moments are in the forefront, the film does manage a strong and creepy sense of foreboding.

July 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Quiet, subtle and tocuhing, this drama of a widower is extremely well acted by Hinds and Aidan Quinn

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

No, this is not The Eclipse where Monica Vitti and Alain Delon fail to rendezvous on Antonioni's empty street corner.

February 23, 2011 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

The story is thin, but it has a kind of easy Irish charm.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A solid and occasionally genuinely freaky little effort.

December 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

The way McPherson handles the relationships in the movie is remarkable, in that he doesn't fall prey to a playwright's natural tendency to try put everything into the text.

July 17, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist

Blends romance, drama and supernatural horror into a truly original, thoroughly unforgettable concoction.

July 13, 2010 Full Review Source: DustinPutman.com
DustinPutman.com

Like any ghost tale worth telling, The Eclipse will leave you strangely haunted.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Being haunted by one's past really means something from director Conor McPherson

May 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

No, this is a wonderfully nuanced tale of love and loss set in a picturesque Irish coastal town during its annual literary festival.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

The high caliber acting is wasted on the bland and dull story. Despite an 88-minute running time, the movie is excruciatingly slow and grows tiresome as nothing much happens. It maintains a melancholy mood with the characters contemplating deep thoughts r

May 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

an enjoyable minor-key Irish romance enlivened by excellent performances - including a wonderfully observed turn by Aidan Quinn as an insufferably boorish American typer of best-sellers - but marred by the occasional intrusion of a bad horror movie

May 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

For the most part, this love triangle plays out with great warmth and delicacy.While Quinn seems to be having a ball playing against type as the boozy Nicholas, Hinds and Hjelje create fully-rounded, sympathetic characters.

April 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

The haunted quality of Eclipse is a holdover from McPherson's plays, as is the abundance of dark, piercing wit.

April 23, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

The cinematography captures the Irish countryside beautifully, making for an appropriate backdrop to an intriguing and unpredictable tale.

April 21, 2010 Full Review
Kaplan vs. Kaplan

Audience Reviews for The Eclipse

It's a funny thing when you watch something on the screen that seems entirely plausible and yet you don't believe it for a second. This is the rot that ruins this small film that celebrates (albeit in a somewhat odd manner) all things Irish.

Here you have two stories going on, and really two types of film at war with each other - a character driven, gentle story of a man trying to adjust to life without his wife, and the occasional creepy, gotcha, type of horror film. The two cannot coincide, which is one of the film's flaws, but has nothing to do with the unbelievability factor. No, sadly, what is unbelievable is the odd love (and it isn't really love at all) triangle between Ciaran Hinds' character Michael (the aforementioned widower), Aidan Quinn's arrogant, needy American Author Nicholas (and why is it that the smarmy guy always has to be the American?), and Lena, a Brit writer of the ghost story which gives the film its name.

While one can certainly nod ones head and admit that yes, everything that happens between the three is grounded in reality - for some reason it just doesn't play real, especially the scene where a drunken Quinn challenges the quiet and stoic Hinds to fisticuffs. Yes, it could happen, and yes it probably would play out as the amateurish match that follows, but there's just something about the whole thing that's off putting and out of place; just as the ghost story doesn't really dovetail well with the rest of the film.

There's a huh? scene that takes place in the cemetery of an old ruined church to consider. Lena asks Hinds if he's ever imagined what it would look like to have your name on a headstone. Hinds replies that he doesn't need to imagine as he points out his father's grave (and you discover that Michael is a junior). Lena then awkwardly asks if Hinds' wife is also buried in the graveyard and Hinds replies, "no, she's somewhere else." A moment later we are shown that, indeed, Hind's wife is buried in the cemetery after all.

I suppose we are to surmise that Hinds is saying that his wife isn't really dead at all - as she "haunts" (and that's a pretty loose term in this instance) him and is therefore alive to him as she controls his life by leaving him in a permanent state of melancholy.

I really understand that Hinds character is broken, and that Quinn's is just a needy boor who somehow thinks he's entitled to whatever his minds craves at that moment. He doesn't really care about Lena, just thinks he does, and her denial makes him want her all the more, like a child who is told that he can't have an ice cream cone. But does this make for riveting film watching? Sadly, no.

I mentioned earlier that the film is very Irish. By that I mean it comes across like a Dylan Thomas poem, taking its time as it weaves its tapestry. It shows the slow filling of an empty room and all sorts of imagery meant to convey feeling and atmosphere, but come off, at least in my mind, as rather simplistic and overstated. The film takes the time to recite a passage out of Lena's ghost novel, which reveals a certain tone and theme concerning the belief in ghosts, but also comes across as a "look what I wrote" bit of ham fisted screenplay. The ham fistedness continues when Hinds' father in law states that, while he knows the sadness of losing a wife, losing a daughter makes you wonder if there is a god. Of course he is looking out the window at the church across the street as he utters this little pearl of wisdom.

The film also contains a scene in which Hinds is driving Lena and she exclaims "oh, what beautiful scenery, can we stop." I'm sure the Ireland Board of Tourism appreciated the gesture, but I'm certain that they could have found, or filmed a more breathtaking bit of scenery to display than what they actually showed. A letdown, just like the film, in spite of the solid performance by Hinds.
December 30, 2011
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Cast: Ciarán Hinds, Iben Hjejle, Aidan Quinn, Dorothy Cotter, Eanna Hardwicke, Hannah Lynch, Jim Norton, Hilary O'Shaughnessy

Director: Conor McPherson

Summary: In this supernatural thriller penned and helmed by award-winning Irish playwright Conor McPherson, Ciarán Hinds stars as a recent widower who begins to sense that a mysterious presence is sharing his house. Iben Hjejle and Aidan Quinn co-star as a pair of novelists whose worlds converge with that of the widower thanks to an international literary festival in Wexford that brings surprising changes to all their lives.

My Thoughts: "The atmosphere in this film is quite dark, beautiful, and at times a bit creepy. The film is not a horror flick by no means, and they say its a thriller. I feel it's more of a drama with a splash of supernatural mixed in. I will admit the movie made me jump more then twice. I love a movie that takes you by surprise like this one did me. I thought it would be a bit cheesy like so many other supernatural films are, but I am happy to be wrong. Although the story seems to be told quickly, the film moves in a slow manor, which I think fits the film. Great acting by all. I really enjoyed the story and really felt for the father. His grief near the end was quite sad. The concept of seeing the ghost of a loved one before their death is definitely creepy, and in a sense quite scary. If you believe in that sort of thing. I think it would be horrifying knowing its going to happen before it actually does. I don't think anyone would want to know that. All in all, I found the film to be a nice surprise. I liked that although supernatural things are happening, it didn't over take the film. The only complaint I would have, is that some of the scenes are a bit too dark. But besides that, its well worth the watch."
August 14, 2010
LWOODS04
♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥

Super Reviewer

    1. Lena Morelle: When you see a ghost, something very interesting happens. Your brain splits in two. One side of you is rejecting what you're seeing, because it doesn't tally with our ordinary idea of reality. And the other side is screaming,'But this is real.' And in that moment itself reality is collapsed and reconfigured in a way that changes you profoundly,although you're not aware of it.
    – Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)
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