Ondine (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/03/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 111 mins

Impressively directed and beautifully written, this is an emotionally engaging love story with a terrific central performance from Colin Farrell.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Neil Jordan, Ondine stars Colin Farrell as divorced fisherman Syracuse, who's devoted to his disabled daughter Annie (Alison Barry) and concerned about whether his alcoholic ex-wife Maura (Dervla Kirwan) is capable of looking after her. One day, Syracuse finds a beautiful woman (Alicja Bachleda) in his fishing net with no memory of who she is, so he names her Ondine and takes her home to look after her.

When Ondine appears to bring Syracuse good luck, Annie becomes convinced that she's a mermaid or, more accurately, a mythical sea creature known as a selkie. Before long, Syracuse and Ondine fall in love, but the arrival of a mysterious stranger (Emil Hostina) threatens their happiness – is he her sea-husband come to claim her, or is there a more earthly explanation?

The Good
Colin Farrell is simply terrific as Syracuse, delivering an emotionally engaging performance that radiates warmth and compassion. He also has genuine chemistry with the gorgeous Bachleda (both onscreen and off – they got together during filming and have just had a child together) and both actors have a natural rapport with Barry, who stays just the right side of the precocious kid stereotype.

There's also powerful support from Dervla Kirwan, who brings a raw intensity to her scenes with Farrell, while Stephen Rea provides reliable comic relief as Syracuse's increasingly incredulous priest. In addition, Tony Curran is superb as Maura's new partner Alex, a role that could easily have been underwritten or cliched – his scenes with Barry are all the more effective for being quietly understated.

The Great
The script is excellent, maintaining exactly the right balance between fantasy and reality throughout, though it slightly overdoes it at the end with an unnecessary flashback. The film is also beautifully shot, with Christopher Doyle's photography making strong use of the rugged coastal locations.

Worth seeing?
Ondine is an enjoyable, emotionally engaging and utterly charming love story with a superb script and terrific performances from Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Ondine (12A)
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Content updated: 26/03/2019 13:08

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