(director/writer: Colm Bairead; screenwriter: based on the novella Foster by Claire Keegan; cinematographer: Kate McCullough; editor: John Murphy; music: Stephen Rennivks; cast:  Catherine Clinch (Cait), Carrie Crowley (Eibhlín Cinnsealach), Andrew Bennett (Sean Cinnsealach), Michael Patric (Athair Chait), Joan Sheehy (Una), Kate Nic Chonaonaigh (Mathair Chait), Carolyn Bracken (The Women); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Cleona Ni Chualaoi; Neon; 2022-Ireland-in Scottish Gaellic with English subtitles)

“An exceptionally good understated period drama.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

First-time feature director Colm Bairead, with a background in television and documentaries,  helms an exceptionally good understated period drama, that’s emotionally impactful, as seen through a young girl’s eyes. His film is a must see one of penetrating beauty and wisdom. It’s based on the 2010 short story Foster by Claire Keegan.

The performance by its star 12-year-old newcomer Catherine Clinch is unforgettable, as she plays a 10-year-old loner.

The dreamy and sensitive Cait (Catherine Clinch) in 1981 lives in rural Ireland with her dysfunctional parents, her drunken and distant father (Michael Patric) and her overwhelmed by life mother (Kate Nic Chonaonaigh), and the family’s noisy brood of children. When mom is expecting another child, Cait for the summer is sent to live on a farm three hours away with her wealthier, childless, middle-aged cousin from her mother’s side, Eibhlin (Carrie Crowley), and her taciturn farmer hubby Sean (Andrew Bennett), to give mom a break from caring for so many kids.

Cait can’t get over how peaceful and quiet is her cousin’s house, how her cousin Eibhlin is so warm and friendly, and that she’s not neglected like at home. Thereby her outlook on life drastically changes for the better over time and her ignorance of life is challenged by a new outlook because of how tenderly she’s treated for the first time. Even the initially frosty Sean comes around and begins to embrace her.

In a house that tells us there are no secrets, she however learns of one painful one.

This film is to be treasured for being about the small things in life and allowing the slow pace of its story to flourish so that It offers a lucid view of a child seeing how love really matters in being raised, and even if her parents are not abusive she learns there’s more to raising a child than in just not being abusive. Whether this will carry over to her adult life we don’t know, but are quite sure she will remember this childhood experience.

Played at the Glasgow Film Festival.
The Quiet Girl

REVIEWED ON 11/25/2022  GRADE: A+