Tag Archive: the Secret of Roan Inish

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


One of the things I hate about St. Patrick’s Day week is the food.


When one of my friends wanted to do a get-together involving Irish food, my heart sank because I thought the next thing that was going to be suggested was corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage is so slimy when it is boiled in big pieces.


Give it to me in cole slaw or egg roles. But to eat it straight or in cabbage soup is something I have no interest in doing.


Thanks to the magic of google image search I found this picture at sheknows.com.

Thanks to the magic of google image search I found this picture at sheknows.com.

Thankfully, my friend suggested a potato party instead. We had baked potatoes with all sorts of toppings that included bacon, sour cream, and butter. People made their own potatoes and this way those people who have to have cheddar and sour cream did not have to fight with those who think green onion is a must.


On the side were all sorts of green appetizers, dips, and desserts. I made green cupcakes from yellow cake mix. It was amazing that there were anything left, especially after the Mint Oreo Torte came out of the freezer.


If there is a movie about the ‘Irish Experience’ in America I would most want to see, it is In America that was written and directed by Jim Sheridan who, himself, an Irish playwright immigrant to America.  This movie is somewhat autobiographical but set in the time period in which the movie was made. The story focuses on a family that illegally enters our country and struggle to stay ahead financially. They are also dealing with the death of their two-year-son.


Another modern Irish movie I enjoy is Once which won an Academy Award for Best Song a few years ago. The movie is about a musician who meets a Slovakian woman in the city of Dublin. She plays piano and he has a guitar with a hole in it. For one week they create music for a demo tape along with other street performers. It is fantastic and they realize they might have something more.


Both of these movies are meant for adults with content and context.


Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

For family movies, I always have two selections. And both are derived from folktales of Ireland.


This first is The Secret of Roan Inish in which a young girl discovers the secret of her family. In the last century, one member married a selkie, a seal who can turn into a beautiful woman. She finds out why this makes certain members of her family special and why the forced desertion of the family island caused a deeper tragedy.


The other movie is Into The West featuring a magical horse called Tir Na Nog who adopt an old Traveller and his grandsons in Dublin. The boys try to keep the horse in the public housing of the city but soon the police catch wind and take the horse away. But then the boys steal their horse back and begin an adventure in the West Country from Dublin with their depressed father and the police following.


While both of these are slow moving, I love each story that is being told. The right age group for these two is 4th grade and above as both movies are a little long in spots.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


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.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

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.



Poster Image from IMDb.com

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.