Movies, Opinion

Call me a Pollyanna if you must

In the past month, when I took breaks from writing I watched movies. I’m going to tell you about three of them.Two were set in Ireland, one in Australia.  Two, I’ll recommend, the other I won’t, even though it was well made. I’ll explain why, though you may not agree.

My first recommendation is Ondine, described as a romantic drama. It’s the story of Syracuse, called Circus, an Irish fisherman who discovers a mysterious woman in his fishing net and hides her away. It stars Colin Farrell who’s not hard to look at—especially with long hair. Circus is a recovering alcoholic, trying to be a good father to his daughter whose kidneys are failing. His daughter believes the woman is a selkie, a mythological character.

The selkie reference, as well as the misty, dreamlike quality of this movie, reminded me of another, The Secret of Roan Inish, which I wanted to rewatch, but my copy has disappeared.

The second move, also Irish, is The Eclipse, described as a supernatural drama. It’s the story of Michael Farr, a grieving, middle-aged widower, struggling to get on with his life as a single father. It stars Ciarán Hinds, not as “pretty” as Farrell, but handsome nonetheless. Michael teaches shop in the seaside town of Cobh, and volunteers at the local annual literary festival. There he’s assigned to assist and chauffeur a woman who writes about ghosts. Since he’s recently begun to suspect his house is haunted, he seeks her opinion.

Both these movies were quiet, drenched in atmosphere, and interesting character studies. If you like that sort, click on the links above and watch the trailers. If you’ve seen either of them, let me know what you thought.

Now, the third movie, which I decline to name. It’s based on the true story of a group of Australian men convicted as serial killers, and told from the viewpoint of the youngest of the group. Most often, serial killers act alone, so this case was unfortunately unusual.  It was well done, gruesomely, realistically, disturbingly so. I was both repulsed and mesmerized as I watched it. At one point, I had to mute the TV and yet, I didn’t stop the dvd player.

When the movie was over, I felt sick and violated. I felt as if I’d lived among those people and participated in their crimes. I felt guilty. It took me days to shake that off. The movie was well written, directed, and acted, yet it seemed an indecency to watch. I wish I never had, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forget it. For that reason I can’t recommend you watch it.

All of these movies drew me into the lives of the characters. Those are the sort of movies—and books—that I love, and that’s why I need to be careful whose life I’m drawn into. Maybe it’s my age. I’m well aware that life is messy, complicated, sometimes midnight black because I’ve lived through six decades of it. I’d rather be assured of the decency in humanity than of the depravity. I believe in hope. So give me at least a glimmer of light in those last frames or pages and I’ll remember you fondly.