‘Quiet Girl’: Irish Oscar nominee eloquent with her silence


(4 stars)

In a world of noise — and noisy, over-the-top movies that best characterize this year’s crop of Oscar contenders — Academy Award-nominated Quiet Girl stands out. In the relatively quiet and meditative corner category of Best Foreign Language Film, up against soft-spoken gems like Closer and Eo is this excellent Irish drama, spoken in English but mostly told in Irish. You won’t be surprised by the subtitles because its strongest moments are not mentioned.

One of those moments takes place shortly after the main character, Kate (Katherine Clinch, in a stunning debut), is dropped off by her parents to live with relatives: Da, Drunk, Drunk (Michael Patrick) ) and his pregnant wife (Kate Nick Choonanai), the mother, none of them have ever been named. Kate’s older sisters are left with this dysfunctional dynamic as Mama prepares to give birth to her last child. Mom and Da want to rip Kate, a.k.a. Tramp, out of her hair.

Mom’s cousin Aiblin Sinsilach (pronounced like Evelyn Kinsella and played by Carrie Crowley) and her husband Sean (Andrew Bennett), abandoned on the farm by an older, childless couple who are still missing, soon find out where Kate is. she gets her nickname, one day she loses sight of Sean while helping him with his chores. When he lashes out at her in a panic—not out of anger, but out of pain—that tells us a lot about what’s going on with the pair, without telling us exactly what the trauma is, at least not yet. “Quiet Girl” is at her most ironic eloquent when Shawn apologizes to Kate the next day, not verbally, but silently placing a cookie on the breakfast plate and rushing out of the kitchen, speechless with inexplicable emotion. Kate may not understand what happened, but we do.

Directed by Colm Byrad and based on the short story Foster by Claire Keegan, it’s a tale that doesn’t take too much space, at least by Hollywood standards. However, during her short time with the Cinnsealachs, Kate discovers a way of life that is completely alien to her – a way of loving and loving unconditionally. Her adoptive parents also find something in this quiet girl: healing.

For the audience, the film can also have a positive effect; it’s all about chaos and confusion, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Elvis, All At Once, and the like.

Much of this magic can be seen in the stills, which Bayrad fills with shots of green grass in the sun and gazes. “Quiet Girl” is that rare thing: a story that speaks loudly when it says nothing.

PG-13. In regional theaters. There is some strong language, smoking, and mature subject matter. Irish and some English subtitles available. 94 minutes.

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