The Eclipse


The Eclipse

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 84


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,384
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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 own -- she's being jealously pursued by a self-obsessed novelist, her one-time lover. As the three adults' lives converge, the turbulence of the phantom world will soon have nothing on that of the living.

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Ciarán Hinds
as Michael Farr
Aidan Quinn
as Nicholas Holden
Iben Hjejle
as Lena Morelle
Jim Norton
as Malachy McNeill
Eanna Hardwicke
as Thomas Farr
Hannah Lynch
as Sarah Farr

News & Interviews for The Eclipse

Critic Reviews for The Eclipse

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (21)

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

    Jan 3, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Quinn, alternately charming and loathsome, is brilliant, as is Hinds, an actor who has elevated everything he's been in.

    Jul 6, 2010

    John Anderson

    Top 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…
  • 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.

    Apr 15, 2010 | Rating: 3/4
  • 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.

    Apr 15, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Hinds, who scored the Best Actor award when the film screened at the Tribeca Festival in New York, possesses an unassuming versatility.

    Apr 15, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Eclipse

  • Dec 30, 2011
    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.
    paul s Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2011
    This was a really good movie. It has a quiet dignity to it that most 'thrillers' don't have. Then again, this movie is mostly a romance, and it does that in a very nice and believable way. It's a character driven romance thriller. There's also some decent scares thrown in there, so it's an intriguing mix. The supernatural stuff doesn't, initially mix in with the rest of the movie, but by the end it ends up working. So that's it...a really good movie that's better than I was expecting.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2011
    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.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 26, 2011
    The Eclipse is such a refreshing blend of horror and drama.The world needs more films that can present a mature subject matter and ground itself in reality, then surprise with some authentic scares. The acting and plotting are very understated, when mixed with such a detailed eye for cinematography and lighting it makes for something very engaging and fun to watch.
    Hayden B Super Reviewer

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