Pros:Lots of sex appeal amidst the foggy damp of the Irish coast. Alison Barry.
Cons:A bit too languid. The ending can be a bit harsh to certain mindsets.
The Bottom Line: Beautiful and moody, with an excellent cast, it isn't a big story, but it is well told.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
Ondine (2009) Directed by Neil Jordan
"Misery is easy. Happiness you have to work at." The Village Priest
Circus, real name Syracuse, (Colin Farrell) is a fisherman in a little Irish village. They call him Circus, because he was a clown; a funny drunk, until about three years ago. Now Circus is on the wagon, and in his own form of AA, which is held in the local confessional. The priest (Stephen Rea) while unable to lure Circus back into the fold of the faithful nonetheless administers to his charge on Circus' rather odd terms.
Circus may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but no one can fault him as a father, least of all his Anne (Alison Barry). Annie is on dialysis, and uses a wheelchair to get around. She needs a kidney transplant, but neither of her parents match. Circus and Anne's mom, Maura (Dervla Kirwan) are divorced, but Circus and Alex (Tony Curran) her Scottish boyfriend get on fine. Alex is a bit rough and tumble, but he cares for Anne too.
Circus is not a horribly successful fisherman, but one day he makes a catch that changes his life. He hauls in his net, and finds, not fish, but a girl.
The mysterious beauty (Alicja Bachleda) has no memory of who she is, or so she says. When Circus asks for a name, she says he can call her Ondine. Ondine is skittish; she doesn't want to be seen by anyone else but Circus. Finally, he puts her up in his Mother's cottage, left empty these three years since her death.
As time goes on, Ondine's mysterious origins intrigue Circus, and Anne, who like all intelligent little girls is far better at spying than their parents realize, and Anne comes up with a theory. Ondine is a selkie, one of the seal folk of the faeries. A selkie who comes to shore lays aside their sealskin shawl, and if a human finds it, they can prevent the selkie from leaving for seven years. Anne is convinced her new friend Ondine is in point of fact a selkie, and has one of their other powers; the power to grant a single wish. Annie wants to be healed.
Circus may be a little dim, but he isn't dumb, and while the selkie story seems to fit all the facts, he is sure there is another story, less magical and far darker. But when Ondine sings, his lobster pots are full. When she does not, they are empty. Could she be a selkie? Whatever she is, Circus considers her a good luck charm, and is far fonder of her than just as the woman who fills his nets with salmon.
The question becomes, will the magic that Ondine seems to inspire continue to grow until life unravels and no longer makes sense, or will it come crashing down as harsh reality pops the bubble? And how will this affect Anne? Whichever scenario is true, the dark stranger (Emil Hostina) asking about Ondine seems to signal the stories tragic ending; is he Ondine's seal husband, or something far more sinister?
This little indie film makes much of mood; easy enough to do with the Irish seaside setting; lovely cinematography with a palette of foggy greens, grays and blues, and that patented Colin Farrell Enigmatic Stare. If you can understand the foreign language, English spoken in an Irish accent so thick it would make a leprechaun say "What's that again?" you should have no problems.
Like most moody indie films, this one is in no hurry to get where it is going. You can call this languidly unfolding or slow and dragging, your choice. I didn't mind. This film strikes me as a very good date movie; with enough action, romance, smoldering good looks and perfect breasts to keep everyone happy. Enjoy.
This is part of foshizzlee's Foreign Film Write Off!
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older