April 5 & 6

The Quiet Girl

April 5 & 6

7 pm nightly
1:30 Thursday matinee
Rated G — 1 hr 36 min
Drama / Adaption

The Quiet Girl is a tender Irish drama proves the quietest films can have the most to say.

Written and directed by Colm Bairéad, the dialogue is mostly in Irish. Set in 1981, the film follows a withdrawn nine-year-old girl who experiences a loving home for the first time when she spends the summer on a farm with distant relatives in Rinn Gaeltacht, County Waterford. The film was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards. A remarkable debut for writer-director Colm Bairéad, The Quiet Girl offers a deceptively simple reminder that the smallest stories can leave a large emotional impact.

Its child’s-eye look at our fallen world has the makings of a classic. There’s a lovely scene in which the “quiet girl” of the title, 10-year-old Cáit (played by newcomer Catherine Clinch), is reading Heidi before bedtime, and this movie, for all its darkness and suppressed pain, has the solidity, clarity and storytelling gusto of that old-fashioned Alpine children’s tale – about the little girl sent away to live in a beautiful place with her grandfather.

You’ll find plenty of sadness in this tender story about a withdrawn 9-year-old who spends a fateful summer with two distant relatives. But the movie, adapted from a Claire Keegan story called Foster, doesn’t rub your nose in the character’s unhappiness. What may bring you to tears more than once is the movie’s unfashionable optimism — its insistence that goodness exists, and that simple acts of decency really can be life-changing.

There is a monotony to some of the presentation—the repeated shots of the kitchen, the walk to the well, the daily chores, and Cáit’s wariness slowly melting into trust. The monotony is there for a reason and does serve a purpose, but a little goes a long way. In another kind of movie, a lazier kind, all this stillness and rural beauty, seen by an enigmatically silent child who is accustomed to vanishing invisibly into the landscape, would be the ominous foretaste of something horrible or violent to come just before the final credits. But The Quiet Girl is doing something gentler than this, as well as more real and true. It is a jewel.

Colm Bairéad

Catherine Clinch, Carrie Crowley, Andrew Bennett, Michael Patric, Kate Nic Chonaonaigh, and Joan Sheehy