50 Years, 50 Movies (2022): The Quiet Girl

I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to watch and review one movie from each year of my life.  The only qualification is that it has to be a movie I’ve not reviewed previously. 


Top Grossing Movies in 2022:

Best Picture Oscar Nominees and Winners in 2022:

Other Movies I’ve Reviewed from 2022:

Title:  An Cailín Ciúin
Release Date: 12 May 2022
Director: Colm Bairéad
Production Company: Inscéal  | Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland | TG4 | Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Many’s the person missed the opportunity to say nothing and lost much because of it.

The title of The Quiet Girl echoes that of The Quiet Man, the quintessential Hollywood fabrication of Ireland.  Unlike the John Wayne movie, The Quiet Girl is made in Ireland and the dialogue is primarily in the Irish language (Gaeilge). One of the interesting aspects of the movie is the code-switching the characters do between their native tongue and the English forced upon the country through imperialism.

Set in 1981, the movie tells the story of Cáit (Catherine Clinch), a nine-year-old in a large family in rural Ireland.  Cáit’s father (Michael Patric) is an alcoholic and a layabout while her mother (Kate Nic Chonaonaigh) is overextended with caring for the children, including a toddler, and expecting another baby soon. Neglected by her parents and teased by her older siblings as “the weird one,” Cáit has no outlet but to run away and hide.

Cáit’s parents decide that until the baby is born, that she should live with her mother’s distant cousins on a farm three hours away in County Waterford.  They are strangers to Cáit, but Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley) warmly welcomes her into their household with more affection than we’ve ever seen from her parents. Seán (Andrew Bennet) is reserved at first, but eventually he and Cáit form a strong bond working on the farm together.  It’s clear that Cáit is blossoming from being loved for the first time, and that Eibhlín and Seán are finding something they were missing as well.

This is a beautiful and gentle story and it uses the language of film to portray the perspective of a child, with all the wonders and horrors that entails.  I actually felt so angry early on because the way Cáit’s family treats is atrocious and inexcusable. But I felt even more emotional at the acts of kindness and love when Cáit finds her true family with Eibhlín and Seán.

Rating: ****1/2