Kieran O’Dea: I prayed all night trying to get you out of my mind. But you were all that filled it. I tried to remember what it was like before you… I couldn”t remember. I tried to imagine what it would be like without you… and nothing came to me. I love you.
‘This is My Father’ directed by Paul Quinn, and starring Aidan Quinn, James Cann, Moya Farrelly, Stephen Rea (and even John Cusack in a cameo) is a deeply moving film that delves into class prejudice in Ireland in the early 20th century; the idea of legacy, identity and fatherhood (an interesting contrast to the more recent film The Place Beyond the Pines).
Based on (apparently) a true story related to the Brothers Quinn by their mother, This is My Father is story that meanders between two different decades- Ireland, in the 1930s and in the 1990s. In 1930s Ireland, Fiona Flynn, a fiesty young girl home from boarding school, falls in love with a shy farm labourer, Kieran O’Dea. In 1990s America, their son Kieran Johnson, a school-teacher, prompted by the chance finding of an old photograph in a book of poetry (W.B Yeats) sets out to Ireland to find out about his father and the events that lead up to his mother leaving Ireland on her own.
In spite of their moments of happiness together and their joy at the rapture of love (e.g., leaving messages for one another in the trunk of a tree), Fiona and Kieran must face adversity in the form of a disapproving minister of the church and a cantakerous, bitter and vengeful mother (Mrs. Flynn). As the entire town begins to turn against the two, the film highlights the issue of class prejudice and close-minded punitive religious ideology and practice in early 20th century Ireland.
The film has a strong plot that is enhanced by well-acted performances. The viewer is presented with elements as radically contrasted as the serious in the form of repercussions of superstitions and class prejudice, the search for one’s roots and identity, and the joyful in the form of the scenic beauty of lush open fields, carefree and tender moments shared by Fiona and Kieran and an amusing beach interlude with a pilot, Eddie Sharp (Cusack), who almost literally drops out of the sky…
A thought-provoking (and emotional) film- worth seeing 4/5
Acting: Very Good.
Especially the performance of James Cann, Aidan Quinn and Moya Farrelly, the three leads. Highly convincing portrayals that draw you into the story, leading you to become emotionally invested in their journey. As Kieran Johnson (Caan) searches for his father, and attempts to uncover his parent’s story, the viewers experience the highs and lows of his journey with him, right up to its poignant conclusion 5/5
Script/ dialogue: Good.
The Eddie Sharp episode is a light moment in an otherwise fairly serious film, but some of the dialogue in the beach scene was a bit too Cusackian (funny, slightly over the top, quirky) for this film. 4/5
Cinematography: Very Good.
The “feel” of the place (Ireland) in both times is captured well and executed effectively.
Family, identity, legacy, class prejudice