Flash Movie Review: The Secret of Roan Inish

When it happens the mind has a hard time believing it is true. Knowing the difference between fantasy and reality, when one of them crosses to the other side the brain forms a hiccup. It could be something as trivial as checking one’s wallet or purse several times for a missing credit card and then on the 8th try the card is there. For me it was when I was at Yellowstone National Park and saw what actually looked like purple colored mountains, just like the lyric in the song that goes, “For purple mountain majesties.” I was standing on the peak of one mountain looking out and seeing a range of purple mountains as a low hanging, orange sun was piercing holes thru large billowing clouds like they were white pin cushions. The precise rays of sunlight formed little stars across the landscape. At first it did not look real to me; I just stood there and stared in disbelief. But there are other events that happen where a person has to take a step back to make sure what they are experiencing is actually real. Think about it, did you ever dream about something that later came true? Maybe what your ideal mate would look like or what your dream house would be? It can be a bit unsettling at first; however, I will say when it happens it brings a magical quality to it. The way this DVD showed up at my front door with no prior knowledge and its timing really made me experience an enchanting movie watching experience. Ā  Ā WHEN Fiona, played by Jeni Courtney (Nothing Personal), went to live with her grandparents she discovered there was something extraordinary about her family members. This film festival winning dramatic fantasy was a special treat to watch because it was based on the same Irish folklore as the animated movie, “Song of the Sea.” I recently had reviewed it here. Having seen the animated picture first, when I started watching this one I could not believe I was viewing the live version of that fantasy tale. With a cast that included Eileen Coogan (My Left Foot, I Sell the Dead) as Tess and John Lynch (The Secret Garden, In the Name of the Father) as Tadhg, I thought everyone did a wonderful job in creating a mysterious and magical atmospheric story about life in a small fishing village in Ireland. The beautiful landscapes and camera shots only added more charm to the story. Speaking of the story, there were differences between the two movies; I found this story was gentler and sweeter in a way, still just as family friendly as the other one. Whether the timing was right or I was in the right frame of mind, I found this DVD drew me completely into its world where I felt I was experiencing a fantasy coming to life.


3 1/2 stars — DVD




About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on August 6, 2015, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. So glad you saw this, it’s one of our family favorites

    • Oh, I am so glad to hear it. This was an utter surprise for me. BTW, did you see the Song of the Sea? Take a look at the trailer at the end of my review of it when you get a moment. Thanks for the comments.

  2. I love John Sayles work overall, but I’ve consistently missed this one over the years. Hopefully, I’ll get to it. I adore “Song of the Sea”…haunting and beautiful. Glad that you appreciated it. ML

  3. Jordan Richardson

    This is such a beautiful movie. Wonderful assessment, too.

  4. I grew up on tales of selkies so I will definitely need to watch this and Song of the Sea. I’m glad you recommend both.

  5. It’s on Netflix. Your review just made me want to watch it. Thanks.

  6. Gentle and sweet are exactly what Roan Inish is. We’re so trained to expect a villain or tragedy that when it doesn’t come, we’re pleasantly surprised. I also loved “Song of the Sea” and think it (or The Tale of Princess Kaguya) should have won the Best Animated Oscar. It would be nice for someone other than Pixar to get it once in a while. Have you seen the other animated movie by Tomm Moore? His first one, “The Secret of Kells” is also quite wonderful.

    • I am with you on this; the world can use some “gentle and sweet” instead of a villain or explosion. I have not seen Tomm Moore’s other film but will have to seek it out. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments, I appreciate it.

  7. Oh I don’t know this one. I must watch this. Sounds terrific. šŸ™‚

  8. I think we’ll watch this one tonight! I’ll let you know if we do. Thank you for a great review.

    • Oh super I cannot wait to hear what the family thinks of this one.

      • Only me and my husband watched it, our daughter was gone to an art walk. I completely enjoyed it and was never bored. All the scenes had such a timeless, magical quality to them. I can see why you gave this 3 1/2 stars! My husband said he enjoyed it and not much more, but that is good feedback coming from him, as he rarely raves over a movie. Thanks again, I will be recommending this to my daughter.

      • Oh wow, thank you for telling me about your husband’s reactions and of course, I am thrilled you enjoyed the film as much as I did. So glad it was a good night for you both.

  9. I am back with my review having just watched this movie on Netflix. I thought it was gentle and charming and with a real sparkle of magic that was nevertheless rooted in the realism of depicting family life and a remote, island community.

    Throughout, I found myself thinking about my Gran. She grew up on Shetland and was weaned on stories of selkies. She passed those stories on to me. I was, therefore, suffering quite a lot of nostalgia while watching this movie, thinking of my Gran and of my Shetland ancestors, eking out a hard existence crofting and fishing (I am a family historian so sometimes my long dead ancestors seem like people I knew). I studied Ethnology at University and one of my courses was on folklore. I understand, therefore, that many tales of magical beings – whether trolls, fairies, kelpies or selkies – are a way of people explaining the inexplicable or coming to terms with things in their reality. Therefore, the use of the selkies in this movie, bound as they were to themes of absence and loss, seemed to me to work very effectively.

    Thanks for bringing this movie to my attention.

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