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The Secret of Roan Inish Reviews

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Ken S

Super Reviewer

June 22, 2007
If I was a twelve year old girl this film would rock my world. Because I mean dude, SEALS! Also the beautiful cinematography by Haskell Wexler is there to be appreciated by all ages and both sexes.
ScoopOnline
ScoopOnline

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2009
A beautiful tale makes you want to believe in Magic.
rubystevens
rubystevens

Super Reviewer

May 3, 2009
a magical film for all ages :)
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2007
A fantasy about a little Irish girl who hears tales that her missing little brother may be being cared for by magical sea creatures called selkies. The Celtic music is a joy, but the Irish accents take a little getting used to.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2006
Mahalo nui loa, Bookbat, this was a great recommendation. A magically quiet masterpiece of storytelling by John Sayles, who also gave us, amazingly, LONE STAR. No one tells stories the way the Irish tell stories. This movie celebrates that gift and passion with story after story told within the frame of the film's story. The archetypal idea of the ultimate return home is given an even greater resonance when that trip back home involves reunion with a family member believed to be lost--flashes of Odysseus, and even Moses. The whole notion of the loss of language, Gaelic in this instance, is universally moving and significant today. A wonderful story, gorgeously shot by Haskell Wexler, with beautiful music. The seals are an amazing mix of the real and animatronics. This is a real find.
John B

Super Reviewer

September 25, 2012
Very cute. It doesn't need to be grand to be effective.
burgerstar
burgerstar

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2011
Great children's movie. Great Irish folklore too.
auntieknickers
March 16, 2009
One of the best movies I've ever seen, and suitable for the family (well, 7 or 8 and up, anyway). Fantastic soundtrack as well.
RKNOLTON
June 8, 2008
ONE OF THE MOST EXQUISITELY BEAUTIFUL FILMS I'VE EVER SEEN!! THE STORY IS ABOUT A 10 YR. OLD GIRL WHO GOES TO LIVE WITH HER GRANDPARENTS IN IRELAND AND LEARNS THAT A FAMILY MEMBER SUPPOSEDLY MARRIED A SELKIE. LEGEND HAS IT THAT SELKIES ARE SEALS WHO CAN TAKE HUMAN FORM AND ONE SEDUCED AND MARRIED FIONA'S RELATIVE. YEARS BEFORE FIONA'S BABY BROTHER WAS WASHED OUT TO SEA IN HIS BOAT SHAPED CRADLE AND WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN RAISED BY THE SELKIES. FIONA BELIEVES SHE'S SEEN HIM AND SEEKS TO RESCUE HIM. FIND THIS MOVIE AND BUY IT!! THE STORY IS REMARKABLE AND THE PHOTOGRAPHY IS BREATHTAKING!!!
RODNEY KNOLTON
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
RKNOLTON@GMAIL.COM
May 28, 2008
The movie was awesome. The little girl finding her little brother was very sweet showing family matters, No matter what.
flixsterbum
December 23, 2007
I've seen pretty much every film John Sayles has made, and the man always impresses me. The guy is a consistently great storyteller, whether it be about mining unions, aliens stranded in the ghetto, giant killer alligators, or a charming tale about an enchanted island of seals. This is a great family film, with warm and endearing characters and a great story full of other stories. It's magical without one ounce of special effects needed. Whether you're a John Sayles fan or just in the mood for a good movie, either way, you won't be disappointed.
November 24, 2006
ooh, I love this movie! Recently watched it again after many years. I loved it as a kid and I still love it. It is really a great little film. Interesting fantasy stories combine with the reality of a sweet little girl who has recently lost her mother and goes to live with her grandparents. She learns about the place they used to live and the stories of her past and the past of the mysterious Roan Inish.

Even with some themes of sadness and strangeness the film comes out with a feeling of happiness and warmth.
moonkist1
September 15, 2007
My son brought this movie home one day ( i always gave him the oportunity to choose a movie, too!) And to much my surprise and chagrin, he picked out an awesome movie!
Way to go, son!
August 13, 2007
One of the things I love about the Irish culture is it's rich legends and storytelling. This story follows Fiona (Jeni Courtney) who has returned from the city with her father to live with her grandparents. They had previously lived on the island of Roan Inish, but are now living on the mainland. The director, John Sayles, bring us a version of the legend of the selkie, a creature that is half seal-half human. I found this movie to be very heartwarming and rich in Irish culture, but not in a sappy way. Jeni Courtney turns in an excellent and completely believable performance as Fiona who learns about the legend of the selkie and uses it to find her little brother Jamie who had disappeared at sea at an infant. The Irish landscape and sea are gorgeously filmed and the music is subtle and beautiful...it's as if you are there in Ireland learning about the legends yourself through the eyes of Fiona.
ladyvader77
February 26, 2007
A story about where the dark hair & eyes come from in the Black Irish. If you believe in Magick, this is a must.
elizabob
June 20, 2006
I have to see this movie again sometime....I don't really remember anything about it-but I do remember that I loved it.
jlierman
May 23, 2006
Good, but not one of those movies that I watch again and again. It has left a lasting impression though.
March 23, 2006
Great family film. I love the irish music. Facinating story, and wonderful ending. Almost magical, and it feels so real. Great filming technique, and well written story.
February 18, 2013
Wonderful film for St. Patrick's Day weekend.
Erik R.
January 12, 2014
The Secret of Roan Inish is about a pretty Irish girl named Fiona who goes to live with her grandparents by the sea. There they (and her cousins) tell her stories about how her missing brother Jamie drifted off to sea as a baby in a floating cradle and how her great great great great great grandfather captured a human-seal changeling and married her.

Which sounds a bit crazy, but hey, I like crazy!

Unfortunately, the movie (despite its 98% tomatometer) just isn't very compelling. There never appears to be anything at stake. We never really get a glimpse into Fiona's mindset - why does returning to Roan Inish matter to her? How can she "miss" her baby-brother Jamie who she barely even knew? Does she miss her mother? Does she mind her father being a drunkard? What does she want to be when she grows up? Does she have any hobbies? Does she do well in school? What about boys, is she starting to like boys now?

She's almost a complete blank slate and it's hard to care about someone like that. And when you've got a drama/character-centric story without interesting drama or an interesting lead, then you've got... what, exactly?

Well it's got some myth-telling, some myth-building. But as the line between myth and reality is never drawn, it rather loses its effectiveness. Because a fantasy that's happening in reality... ceases to be a fantasy. That is, it ceases to have magic.

But hey, I did enjoy its quintessential Irishness (and I don't mean shamrocks, leprechauns, and drinking).

Final Say: The Secret of Roan Inish made me feel a bit like an old-timer was telling me about the good ol' times but, when I invented a time machine and actually went back, I discovered that, well, nope, actually the old times were pretty boring.

How to Watch It: The Secret of Roan Inish is portrayed as a children's movie but I honestly can't see a ten, eleven, twelve year old sitting through it. So, um, maybe watch it as part of an Irish movie marathon! Start with The Guard.

Trivia: The actress who played Fiona, Jeni Courtney, just about VANISHED. I spent a non-trivial amount of time trying to track down where she went and... nada. She played in this movie and one other and then... gone.
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