The Secret of Roan Inish - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Secret of Roan Inish Reviews

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August 12, 2017
The Secret of Roan Inish is verifiably appropriate to the fantasies of Irish folklore, yet I don't believe John Sayles was the right director for this: he's a political canvasser of multiple characters on a realist level. I was thinking a director like Mike Newell, who directed Into the West, would've made this movie soar. You have to be in a really good mood for this film because it is simply boring, and you have to meet this film more than halfway to register interest or else it will feel like a long grind. There is no other way to put it. That being said, it still is a good movie because it indulges the heroic pasts and legends of the Irish by respecting their traditions. I think that if the film's child protagonist had a strong point of view related with her familial history then that would've landed this film on a smoother plan, rather than a quick narrative exposition on the child's mom and brother, and her drunk dad, which wasn't made very clear.
March 17, 2016
Love it. Watch it every St. Patrick's Day.
January 18, 2016
A magical tale and a childhood favorite with fantastic music.
½ June 22, 2015
Nothing groundbreaking cinematically speaking but certainly lovely if you enjoy Irish folklore-but with gems like Song of the Sea out there, there is very little that can come close.
May 7, 2015
A quiet, gentle little indie film. Still, I think it would've been better if Fiona herself was a selkie. It might have given the story a little more depth.
½ April 21, 2015
Beautifully shot well written by Sayles and finely acted what's not to like.
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2014
The (uninteresting & very much avoidable) Secret of Roan Inish
July 19, 2014
I f***ing love this!
½ July 15, 2014
Loved the combination of the "simple" life living off the water, with the scenery, shared legends, and accents. The film was enjoyable and I liked the actors.
May 28, 2014
I've loved this movie since the first time I watched it.
March 14, 2014
Wonderful film for St. Patrick's Day weekend.
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.
December 23, 2013
The story is captivating. The music haunting. A must see for the celtic at heart.
August 22, 2013
This film was nothing short of magical. You became immersed in a mythical world which was totally believable. The characters were all very interesting, the scenery was beautiful and, as a whole, it was a wonderful film in every sense of the word.
April 23, 2013
Be transported to a magical story. I left part of my soul on Roan Inish.
March 17, 2013
First saw this film with my grandmother. It will always hold a treasured place in my heart.
½ February 9, 2013
Well I think its a pretty good movie.
February 5, 2013
This is amarvelous tale that blends, traditions, lore and hope. A worthy movie to view and entertaining.
January 11, 2013
This movie was so boring that I fell asleep twice.
December 29, 2012
why do ppl consider this great?! Someone's crazy.
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