(director/writer: Robert Higgins/Patrick McGivny; cinematographer: Simon Crowe; music: Daithi O’ Dronai; cast: Eanna Hardwicke (Cian Reilly), Danielle Galligan (Grace), Lorcan Granitch (Diarmuid), Gary Lydon (Bernie), Dara Devaney (McGovern), Dafhyd Flynn (Sparky), Lesley Conroy (Dr. Kelly), Seamus O’Rourke (Mulherne), Oisin Robbins (Doc), Naoise Dunbar (Tomas); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Robert Higgins/Patrick McGivny; Harp Media; 2022-Ireland)

“Sensitive drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Irish filmmakers Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivny, in their debut feature, co-direct and co-write this sensitive drama about the Gaelic football player Cian Reilly (Eanna Hardwicke), the star of his team, who is attacked one night while out drinking with friends in a town an hour away from home. He is beaten so severely in an alley he fears he can’t play football anymore. Football is what he excels in and without that as a career he worries he has little chance of making something of himself in the depressed rural community where he dwells. His alternate life choice is being a laborer on his family dairy farm, to work for his edgy father (Lorcan Granitch).

When Cian can’t heal, he worries that there might be something more serious, like a permanent brain injury. He’s comforted by Grace (Danielle Galligan), an old school friend who has recently returned to the area from London. She has a nursing job and a boyfriend there, and plans on returning soon. But meanwhile she acts as the voice of reason for Cian, as he tries to find a way to deal with his dilemma.

But Cian’s problem is that he can’t face the truth that he won’ be able to play football again because of the injury.

The young characters have a good chemistry together, and life in a small rural town is well documented. It’s a low-key film that gives us much to muse about in finding love, a career and happiness.

It played at the Glasgow festival.