It’s hard to believe it is the final week of Reading Ireland Month! This week I will just have a few general posts that didn’t quite fit in with the themes of the four previous weeks.
This year there are a bumper crop of Irish movies to look forward to, but as this is READING Ireland Month and not WATCHING Ireland month, today I am going to highlight four that have a particularly literary bent!
Rosie is the new film from Roddy Doyle, which was released at the start of this year. Turning his gaze to the Irish housing crisis, particularly in the rental world, this acclaimed film lays bare the human cost of the housing crisis as a mother struggles to protect her four children after their landlord sells their rented home.
The moving drama starring Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford has already won plaudits both in Ireland and further afield – with many noting that it should be required viewing for anyone in the Irish government. Directed by Paddy Breathnach, Rosie was produced by Element Pictures, the production company behind Yorgos Lanthimos’ award-winning The Favourite.
Calm With Horses
Calm With Horses is set in rural Ireland, and follows ex-boxer Arm who has become the feared enforcer of the drug-dealing Devers family while trying to be a good father to his autistic five-year-old son. Torn between two families, Arm is asked to kill for the first time, and his attempt to do the right thing endangers everyone he holds dear.
Irish stars Barry Keoghan, star of The Killing of A Sacred Deer and American Animals stars alongside Niamh Algar and English actor Cosmo Jarvis (Lady Macbeth).
I am particularly excited for this movie as it is based on the story of the same name by Colin Barrett. Calm With Horses is the stand out story/ novella from his collection Young Skins and this film is produced by Michael Fassbender.
Dark Lies the Island
Set in a small Irish town and unfolding over the course of one week, a long-standing family feud comes to a head and forces the men to face the truth. Dark Lies the Island features a dark and darkly funny script from Kevin Barry, based on characters from his short story collection of the same name. The cast includes some great Irish actors, Peter Coonan and Charlie Murphy from Love/ Hate, Pat Shortt and Tommy Tiernan (Derry Girls) and it will be interesting to see if these stories cohere into a satisfying whole.
Here Are the Young Men
Here Are the Young Men is another film based on a recent Irish book. It is directed by Eoin Macken, from a screenplay by Macken and Rob Doyle. It is based upon the novel of the same name by Doyle, which I reviewed here. Set in the summer of 2003, it sees aimless teenager Matthew yearn after his childhood sweetheart, Jen, an independent girl on her own trajectory. Matthew is soon pulled into a world of nihilistic, toxic masculinity by a charismatic friend, while another precocious friend starts to succumb to paranoia.
The film stars Dean-Charles Chapman, Finn Cole, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Wytch), and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
No. Not that Normal People. Another Normal People. This one stars Liam Neeson and Phantom Thread‘s Lesley Manville in the lead roles with a script by celebrated Irish playwright Owen McCafferty, author of Quietly.
Joan and Tom have been married for many years. There is an ease to their relationship, which only comes from spending a lifetime together and a depth of love, which expresses itself through tenderness and humour in equal part. When Joan is unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, the course of her treatment shines a light on their relationship as they are faced with the challenges that lie ahead and the prospect of what might happen if something were to happen to her.
McCafferty is known for his strong performances and pervasive dialogue, and he has two Oscar nominees to work with here. I, personally, would watch Lesley Manville in anything, so this has potential to be interesting.
Yes. That Normal People. You know the one that no shortlist can be without?
Before it was even published, it was announced that Lenny Abrahamson, of hit movies Room and The Little Stranger, would be adapting Sally Rooney’s Normal People for the screen. Not the big screen mind, the little screen, in this instance the BBC. Rooney will adapt the novel herself and Irish company Element Pictures (again, the team behind The Favourite) will produce for broadcast on BBC3.
For those who haven’t read it yet, and I am sure there must still be some, the story is set in a small west of Ireland town and at Trinity College and charts the on-off romance between Marianne and Connell who both come from very different backgrounds.
I found the book to be a bit disappointing, but Abrahamson is a very capable director, so this will, I am sure, be good. It will be very interesting to see who is cast in this one and if the chemistry is there, it could be very effective. If we are not all sick of hearing about Normal People by then!
Derry Girls: The Movie
The phenomenon that is Derry Girls is headed for a third series, but writer Lisa McGee has expressed an interest in creating a spin-off movie. Whether or not this gets the green light is yet to be seen, but it worked for The Young Offenders and The Inbetweeners so you never know!
So, a nice bumper crop of loosely literary based movies to choose from – does anything look appealing?
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!