Secret Of Roan Inish

Secret Of Roan Inish

4.6 16
Director: John Sayles

Cast: John Sayles, Mick Lally, Eileen Colgan, John Lynch

     
 

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The magic of folklore forms the basis of this Irish tale by writer-director John Sayles. Adapted from the book Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry, the 1940s story is told from the point-of-view of Fiona (Jeni Courtney), a young girl sent to live with her grandparents in an Irish fishing town. Her grandfather weaves grand stories about the family's evacuation fromSee more details below

Overview

The magic of folklore forms the basis of this Irish tale by writer-director John Sayles. Adapted from the book Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry, the 1940s story is told from the point-of-view of Fiona (Jeni Courtney), a young girl sent to live with her grandparents in an Irish fishing town. Her grandfather weaves grand stories about the family's evacuation from their home on the tiny island of Roan Inish and about his great-great grandfather, who once cheated death at the hands of the unforgiving sea. As she meets other villagers, Fiona hears even more personal stories about an uncle who married a beautiful, part-human/ part-seal and about how the sea stole her baby brother during the departure from Roan Inish. Later, Fiona believes that she has found Jamie romping in the grass on Roan Inish, and she must convince the family of her vision. While Roan Inish has the feel of a family film, it shares with other Sayles works a character who learns history through storytelling, such as Sam Deeds in Lone Star (1996) and Dr. Fuentes in Men with Guns (1997). Sayles builds cohesive stories from multiple voices, showing the importance of oral history and indicating that learning the past can alter the future.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
The fine art of storytelling takes center stage in this charming fantasy by director John Sayles. Set 1946, the film follows a young girl, Fiona (Jeni Courtney), who's sent to live with her grandparents on the Irish seacoast after the death of her mother. There she's told various family legends, including a particularly fanciful one about her younger brother, who was lost at sea as a baby when the clan departed the tiny island of Roan Inish. There's some breathtaking scenery in The Secret Of Roan Inish, but the real pleasure of the film is hearing these family stories spun. Sometimes accompanied by flashbacks, they create a completely enchanting atmosphere, nicely underscored with lush Irish music by Mason Daron. There are strong performances all around, including Eileen Colgan and Mick Lally as Fiona's almost-too-good-to-be-true grandparents. But it's Sayles' gracefully understated direction, his simple treatment of the film's flights of fantasy, and his obvious respect for oral traditions that make The Secret Of Roan Inish truly special.
All Movie Guide
John Sayles' flexibility has always been one of his most underrated strengths. His ability to create with great detail the workings of communities, by now something of a trademark, is the sort of skill that translates to a wider variety of projects and just as many settings. Here Sayles chooses a small Irish community, allowing the details of it to unfold as his protagonist, a child and an outsider, discovers them for herself. Sayles' lack of sentimentality serves him well in dealing with the film's highly emotional material. The family history, folk tales, and the drama of a lost child all could have tipped The Secret of Roan Inish into undisciplined whimsy or unearned pathos. Instead he beautifully portrays how stories build into histories and bind communities and families together into a shared and continuing story. For all that, it's also a fantastic children's film, the perfect antidote for the condescending and overly commercial fare that usually passes for kid-oriented entertainment. Pitching to all levels, Sayles crafts a gripping story that those who see it when young will grow to appreciate all the more when older.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/13/1996
UPC:
0043396509207
Original Release:
1994
Rating:
PG
Source:
Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mick Lally Hugh
Eileen Colgan Tess
John Lynch Tadhg
Jeni Courtney Fiona
Richard Sheridan Eamon
Cillian Byrne Jamie
Pat Slowey Priest
Dave Duffy Jim
Declan Hannigan Oldest brother
Fergal McElherron Sean Michael
Frankie McCafferty Tim
Gerald Rooney Liam
Susan Lynch Selkie
Linda Greer Brigid
Brendan Conroy Flynn
Eddie Erskine Bar Patron
Suzanne Gallagher Selkie's Daughter
Pat Howey Priest
Mícheál MacCárthaigh Schoolmaster
Eugene McHugh Bar Patron
Mairéad Ní Ghallchóir Barmaid
Gerard Rooney Liam Coneelly
Tony Rubini Bar Patron

Technical Credits
John Sayles Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Dennis Bosher Art Director
Consolata Boyle Costumes/Costume Designer
Tom Conroy Set Decoration/Design
Mason K. Daring Score Composer
Sarah Green Producer
John Hubbard Casting
Ros Hubbard Casting
Glenn R. Jones Executive Producer
Peter Mcaleese Asst. Director
R. Paul Miller Associate Producer
Peter Newman Executive Producer
Maggie Renzi Producer
John Sloss Executive Producer
Adrian Smith Production Designer
Haskell Wexler Cinematographer
Clive Winter Sound/Sound Designer

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