The Eclipse (2010)
Critic Consensus: An intriguingly unusual ghost story, Conor McPherson's Eclipse blends supernatural suspense with romance to create a satisfying, character-driven whole.
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Critic Reviews for The Eclipse
The whole thing would probably have flown apart if not for Hinds, whose character, like a dark star imploding, pulls everything toward him.
Quinn, alternately charming and loathsome, is brilliant, as is Hinds, an actor who has elevated everything he's been in.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A surprisingly effective dramatic ghost story. It has some genuinely creepy moments and some good jump moments along with real dramatic tension. It's also wonderfully and beautifully filmed. I'm gonna keep an eye on this director and see what else he has to offer.
Cast: CiarÃ¡n 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, CiarÃ¡n 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."
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