At the Movies

It’s back to school on Monday, so for our last weekend of vacation, I have another selection for the family. This category is always tough as there is such a variety of family favorites, but as always, I like to try and pick a film that not everyone has seen. I’m hoping I will be introducing some of you to The Secret of Roan Inish for the first time.

This gentle, evocative movie from 1994, filmed on the beautiful coast of western Ireland, is directed by the incredibly versatile filmmaker John Sayles, who frequently surprises me with the breadth of his work and interests. Although this story has a mythical magic to it that children will love, it most definitely holds appeal for adult viewers as well. The cinematography by Haskell Wexler is exquisite and the charm and mystery of this moving story will keep all enthralled

Young Fiona, whose mother has died and father lives in the bottle, is sent to live with her grandparents in a small coastal village in Donegal across from the tiny island of Roan Inish, where the family once lived. She is told the tale of her baby brother Jamie who was lost at sea in his cradle. Gradually she learns the secret that many locals believe – that an ancestor was a Selkie, creatures that are half seal and half woman who supposedly have been raising baby Jamie.

Fiona is convinced and one day sees a little naked boy running on the sand who crawls into his cradle and is taken back out to sea before she can approach him. This now becomes Fiona’s mission – to find Jamie and uncover the family secret of Roan Inish.

Acted by Irish locals, the film has a charming authentic feel that adds to the mythical power of the legend and the moody majesty of the beautiful location. This movie will transport you to another time and place and for a brief respite you will be totally absorbed by this family’s tale. I hope you will be as taken as I was with this film that offers a welcome change from much of the less impressive family fare that is in the theaters these days.

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32 Responses to At the Movies

  1. you have such interesting recommendations. I’ve never heard of this movie. Our spring break is coming up ~ this would be a perfect film to watch on a free evening!

    merci ~ ebh

  2. Okay. It’s official. I need a little sheet with all of your recommendations listed — so many great ones! Thank you for sharing this one :)

  3. Oh, I loved this movie. So beautifully told and filmed–it stays with you. Haunting, but in a good way.

    Bravo for another great suggestion, Q!

  4. I own a copy of this movie and have always loved it, everyone should watch it it’s wonderful. Happy weekend!

  5. maureen says:

    sounds totally enchanting…will definitely watch it…

  6. I loved this movie – so sweet! Happy weekend! xx

  7. kayce hughes says:

    I am going to get it this week end. Love your reviews.

  8. Oh, I totally forgot about this charming film. Now I’m remembering the date I was on with my college sweetheart to go see it so long ago. Fun memory! :-)
    You know that a big chunk of my Netflix list comes from your Film Friday recommendations. Thanks for reminding me of another good one!
    Have a lovely weekend,

  9. This is one stellar choice – because this Irish girl has never seen it! (I am embarrassed to admit that.) It looks like a beautiful film, the scenery has to be magnificent, and I love that they used locals in the movie, that almost always adds a wonderful touch. Thank you for helping me add a good one to the Netflix queue!

    Sending hopes your Friday is fab, and your weekend even better,

  10. q-
    You have found a movie I have never heard of. I am going to try to find it.
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation! Amazing how fast that time goes by.

  11. One of my family’s favorites but it’s been a long while – I’m off to add it to my queue! Thanks, Q!

  12. dominique says:

    One of my all time favorite movies; Roan always leaves me sobbing….Have you recommended wall e yet? another great animation.

  13. I don’t know how you find all these recommendations. But, I love it! My 2 must-watch films du jour are The Tourist and The Next Three Days. Both wonderful. xx’s

  14. Never heard of this one, sounds interesting. Happy Weekend!

  15. Danielle says:

    I know what I’m renting for Charlie soon! You had me at the first image, in fact I couldn’t read the summary because I want to see it too. Thanks for sharing…I have a feeling I’m going to love the scenery too! Have a wonderful weekend…I have been crazy busy recently preparing for my in-laws. They are staying with us for a week, so I’ll be pretty occupied next week…

  16. Charlotta says:

    This sounds lovely – just the sort of thing my little quartet would enjoy on a Saturday night over a bowl of popcorn.

    Thanks for the tip and have a lovely weekend.

    x Charlotta

    P.S. Have you seen ‘Water horse’, ‘Fairytale’, and/or ‘Child and the fox’? These are also quite lovely for kids and adults a like.

  17. abby jenkins says:

    I love that movie! Have not seen or thought about it in eons. I was also reminiscing about The Sound of Music, haven’t seen that since I was 16 going on 17….

  18. jule at BV says:

    What a beautiful and charming movie this seems. Thanks for recommending it. I honestly can’t separate reality from fiction when I’m watching a movie. My husband keeps telling me “it’s a movie’ but I just can’t get over it if anything tragic or sad happens. Please tell me she finds her brother and I’ll watch it.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  19. I love movie recommendations as we don’t tend to watch a lot of movies. We want to, but just don’t seem to make the time. So, I dislike taking a chance and wasting time and prefer to watch recommendations! So thank you!!
    happy weekend!

    p.s. I simply adore the blue and white ’tile’ on the sides of your blog… just makes me happy!

  20. kathi says:

    Hi there
    I loved this movie and would definitely watch it again.

  21. Stacey says:

    I love these types of movies. Adding this one to my” must see” list too. Who needs Ebert when i’ve got you?:-) Have a great weekend! XX

  22. Your description and review of this movie was wonderful. I’ve added it to my list. Although I don’t have children, I’m always looking for uplifting and inspiring movies to rent.

  23. Karena says:

    The fine photography as wellas the story have me longing to see this!

    Art by Karena

  24. Adding this to the list – it sounds beautiful!

  25. you described it wondeful “a charming authentic feel “…I love that. happy Sunday

  26. elle says:

    this is one of the most beautiful movies. I first saw many years ago and would never have remembered it, if not for your post. I shall watch tonight to be totally transported away from this cold, long winter……. Thank you, Q!

  27. Lynn Byrne says:

    Put it on the netfix queue! Lynn from Decor Arts Now

  28. Thanks for the recommendation! I am adding that to the list. It sounds like a wonderful movie and a nice break from the animated family movies!!

  29. Peg says:

    My family is from the Donegal coast. I spent a few happy summers scampering around that magnificent coast. The filmmaker captured the spirit and warmth of the locals perfectly. When I’m longing for a visit, I rent this movie and brew a pot of tea, and I feel just a bit closer.

  30. This is my daughter’s and my all time favorite movie. We are enchanted with so many things Irish. I have yet to visit Ireland and am just waiting for the chance. For some reason, another movie pops to mind that we had the same reaction…I believe it is called “Fairy Tale”. Two little girls truly believe in fairies. It is also filmed in Ireland.

  31. One of my FAVORITE movies of all times! LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!

  32. I always love your recommendations and this sounds absolutely wonderful!

    I was born in Ireland so it’s great to see more of it. I’m off to Amazon. That “buy with one click” feature is too easy. Hope all’s good with you and thank you for your lovely comments xx

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