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Unassuming yet potent, small-scale yet with an enormous heart: this Irish gem takes a simple story but enriches it with characters you'll never forget and emotions that linger long.

With a juggernaut like All Quiet on the Western Front in the room, The Quiet Girl was always gonna face an uphill climb in this year's International Film race at the Oscars. But I bet it gave the German winner a run for its money. Because anyone not touched by this film cannot be human.

The narrative is deceptively simple. A precocious, impoverished girl is sent by her parents to live with a distant cousins during her mom's latest pregnancy. The girl and her adoptive family initially struggle to connect, until they gradually find common ground and grow closer.

Sure, that sounds like your run-of-the-mill coming-of-age tale, but there is a tangible authenicity to The Quiet Girl, which might take place in early eighties Ireland but could as well have taken place in 19th century America, medieval Europe or anywhere, any time else. The emotions are as universal as they come.

The authenticity is augmented by the use of Gaelic language throughout, while the near-square academy ratio really brings alive the small-scale but heartbreaking events of the film, with every single scene being an exquisitely told rite of passage of sorts.

If only The Quiet Girl had followed through on its own convictions and didn't resort to schmaltzy tactics in its final few minutes, I might have awarded it a fourth star. But who knows, upon second or third viewing I might add that fourth star anyway, since 24 hours after seeing the film I still cannot get it out of my head.

release: 2022

director: Colm Bairéad

starring: Carrie Crowley, Andrew Bennett, Catherine Clinch, Michael Patric


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