Family Movie Review: The Secret of Roan Inish

Sometimes it takes a while for me to get around to watching a movie. I’m human. What can I say? In this case, it took 21 years. I remember hearing people saying good things about The Secret of Roan Inish back when it first came out in 1994. A movie about some girl in Ireland going to some island?

No thanks.

But the memory of good reviews hung around in the back of my head, and when the movie appeared in Netflix, I added it to the queue, thinking I might try it out on the kids at some point. (This is how it begins. A movie I didn’t want to see as a teenager is now a movie I decide to make my children watch. What’s wrong with that logic?) Thankfully, it turned out to be a wonderful movie, and one that the whole family enjoyed.

What’s to like? It’s beautiful, for one thing. And Irish. I was entertained just listening to the people talk and watching where they walked. Which is good, because it’s certainly not a fast paced movie. It runs on light mystery and fantasy, with a big heaping of character motivation thrown in for good measure. (Note: the accent did make things a bit more difficult for my seven year old daughter, who wasn’t sure what was going on from time to time. Even my 11 year old son had issues, but those were fixed by turning on the subtitles.)

Really, the movie seems to play out in almost a dream like state. A ten year old girl moves in with her grandparents and begins to learn more about the history of her family: how her brother disappeared, where they came from, and how they might have some magic in their family history.

It sounds like an after-school special, but it really is fantastic, and well worth your time. Since it’s over 20 years old, I have to assume many of you have already seen it, but if you haven’t, give it a whirl–don’t wait another 20 years to let it get past you. (The music is great too. Did I mention that? Because I should have.)

9 out of 10. Don’t miss it!


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