6/10 Ireland’s entry to the recent Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film (rightfully losing to the best film of the year in “All Quiet on the Western Front”), “The Quiet Girl” tells a sweet but all too familiar story. Taking place in 1981 in rural Ireland, “The Quiet Girl” focuses on a neglected, shy, little girl who is sent to live with temporary foster parents for a summer due to her rather toxic life with her birth parents. She thrives under her new guardians but has to accept that the summer will end at some point. The strength of the film has to due with how much heart the film has and the impressive performance from Catherine Clinch as Cáit in her first ever film role. Her temporary foster parents also contribute to the emotional aspects of the film as they harbor somewhat of a tragic secret from Cáit and while the husband initially is far more guarded and less receptive to this new child in his home. At just over an hour and a half, the film is also well paced and flies by rather quickly. The acting is solid all around and the beauty of Ireland is on display with strong cinematography/lighting. The story is rather simple but gets its message across without wasting any time. As for what didn’t work, while the filmmakers’ hearts were in the right place, they tread over familiar ground. There are countless films about neglected children either in underperforming school districts, orphanages, abusive foster/regular homes, etc. The plot doesn’t break any new ground and is nothing you haven’t already seen before. The score is rather forgettable and when the film ends, you won’t have any desire to revisit the film. Having the setting be in Ireland as opposed to America (or any other country for that matter) isn’t enough to draw you completely into yet another story of childhood neglect. While the subject matter is obviously very powerful (seeing as how innocent children always need to be protected no matter what part of the world they live in), the over-reliance on emotion doesn’t make up for clichés that the film repeats. While I appreciated that the ending didn’t force in a “happily ever after” narrative and hued closer to reality, this is a pleasant film that won’t stay with you for long. If you have a huge heart for children while not fearing a somewhat melancholy film, you will find some sweetness in the pure intentions of this Oscar nominated film but it certainly treads familiar ground…even if this ground happens to be a bit greener.

#TheCáitInTheFlat / #WeepYear / #TheStuckOfTheIrish / #HugoingAwayForTheSummer / #IrishMyParentsLovedMe / #AugustNoRush

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