Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


March is the month when every single one of us can be considered Irish, if you so wish.


We wear green to avoid being pinched on St. Patty’s Day. We watch or march in the parade. And at night we drink beer while eating corned beef and cabbage. Well, you can eat the corned beef and cabbage. I’ll take fish and chips, thank you.


What to watch is always an interesting question because I find there are two Irelandsin our minds – that of the past and that of the present. We want to believe in the landof John Waynefrom The Quiet Man as well as one filled with magical creatures.


But there is also the modernIreland, torn apart by war with the English and mobsters while people are living a life.


Let’s start with movies that can be seen by all family members.


If you listen to all of the tales of Ireland, one would think it is a land filed with magical creatures. Into the West is the story of two brothers who are given a horse by their grandfather. The horse does not do so well in their Dublin apartment building so it is captured and sold.


That is when the boys steal the horse back and begin riding it to the west country. Their father (Gabrial Byrne) as well as the police are chasing the boys. But the horse seems to have a mind of its own as well as a plan.


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Another movie about magical creatures (This time it is selkies) is The Secret of Roan Inish.  This John Sayles movie is about a girl who lives with her grandparents inIreland. They used to live on a nearby island but when they were forced to move, her little brother disappeared. This has brought a great sadness to the family.


Somehow or another, the girl and her cousin get back to the island and she makes a discovery while on the mainland she discovers a secret about their family. This movie is a little slow in the telling but I find it wonderful.


The next selection is a movie I have not seen yet. The Secret of Kells (2009) was nominated for best Animated film by the Oscars. It tells the story of a young boy who is learning how to make those wonderfully illustrated books. But he must protect it from those who seek to destroy the knowledge in these tomes.


The reports I hear is that the animation is divine while the story-telling is weak at points. There is some violence when the Vikings make a raid and that might make parents squeamish otherwise this has an estimated PG rating.


Now, if you are looking for movies about music set in Ireland, be prepared for some good ones. But these are meant for adults with heavier themes and adult situations.


The Commitments (1991) is an Alan Parker film that is about a band that brings blue-eyed soul to Ireland. We see how they come together, how they develop a sound and how the band falls apart.



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Another movie that uses music as its theme is the Oscar winning Once (2006). This movie won awards for the soundtrack built around the incredibly worn guitar of Glen Hansard. He plays a musician who is planning to move toLondon to be closer to his love. But he wants to make an album with his music on it first. That is when he meets Marketa Irglova, a Czech immigrant who plays keyboards.


The movie was made with a hand held camera which makes it difficult for a person with motion sickness issues, like myself. But the acting and the music is incredible, well worth your time for a slice-of-life movie without chase scenes.


There are other Irish-themed movies out there meant for adults. In the Name of the Father, In America, Michael Collins, The Magdalene Sisters, In Bruge and Veronica Guerin are just a few. But if you want to remember the dreamy Ireland that was, there is always The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.