The Secret of Roan Inish - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Secret of Roan Inish Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2014
The (uninteresting & very much avoidable) Secret of Roan Inish
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
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2009
A beautiful tale makes you want to believe in Magic.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
May 3, 2009
a magical film for all ages :)
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.
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.
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2012
Very cute. It doesn't need to be grand to be effective.
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2011
Great children's movie. Great Irish folklore too.
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.
June 19, 2011
The Irish accents are so thick in this movie, I had to turn on the subtitles just to understand what they characters were saying. The acting is very good though. The story is well told, but not very entertaining. My children kept waiting for something to happen. The pace is too slow. All in all, I didn't find the movie interesting enough to make it worth watching.
January 7, 2010
Eerie and legitimate ,The Secret of Roan Inish is layered with the innocence of a young girl and an Irish fable, this movie is perfectly relevant for all ages and any nationality. When I was around six-years-old maximum I would beg my mother to rent Roan Inish from the local Grocery Store every weekend. I just recently viewed it again, and now as a young adult I realize just how good my taste was as a child.
April 22, 2009
Compelling film full of irish mythology, magic, and beautiful cinematography. This is overall a great story, and the irish music is captivating.
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.
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.
April 9, 2008
My best friend loved loved this movie growing up, and I just barely saw it two days ago...I'm way behind..Anyway, I really loved this movie, everything was just magical and of course with an awesome Irish music soundtrack I am a huge fan. I wish I saw this when I was younger.
March 30, 2008
Part of my all time top ten and one of the movies that goes in the DVD player when I need a feel good pick me up
½ 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.
½ December 7, 2007
A wonderful, but dreamy fairytale. It took me a while to figure out everyone's relationship to whom, the conversations are very soft in this. Its great for kids, but intelligent and well crafted enough for adults to enjoy.
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