The Secret of Roan Inish

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The Secret of Roan Inish
Secretinishposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Sayles
Produced bySarah Green
Maggie Renzi
Screenplay byJohn Sayles
Based onthe children's novel The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry 
by Rosalie K. Fry
StarringJeni Courtney
Eileen Colgan
Richard Sheridan
Dave Duffy
John Lynch
Music byMason Daring
CinematographyHaskell Wexler
Editing byJohn Sayles
StudioJones Entertainment Group
Skerry Productions
Distributed byThe Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date(s)
Running time103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Ireland
LanguageEnglish
Irish
Budget$5.7 million[1]
Box office$6,159,269[1]
 
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The Secret of Roan Inish
Secretinishposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Sayles
Produced bySarah Green
Maggie Renzi
Screenplay byJohn Sayles
Based onthe children's novel The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry 
by Rosalie K. Fry
StarringJeni Courtney
Eileen Colgan
Richard Sheridan
Dave Duffy
John Lynch
Music byMason Daring
CinematographyHaskell Wexler
Editing byJohn Sayles
StudioJones Entertainment Group
Skerry Productions
Distributed byThe Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date(s)
Running time103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Ireland
LanguageEnglish
Irish
Budget$5.7 million[1]
Box office$6,159,269[1]

The Secret of Roan Inish is a 1994 American/Irish independent film written and directed by John Sayles. It is based on the novel The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry, by Rosalie K. Fry.[2]

It is centered on the Irish and Orcadian folklores of selkies—seals that can shed their skins to become human. The story, set on the west coast of Ireland, is about Fiona, a young girl who is sent to live with her grandparents and her cousin Eamon near the island of Roan Inish, where the selkies are rumored to reside. It is a family legend that her younger brother was swept away in his infancy and raised by a selkie. Part of the film takes place in Donegal.

Plot[edit source | edit]

The story is told from the point-of-view of Fiona (Jeni Courtney) a young girl who is sent to live with her grandparents in an Irish fishing village.

Her grandfather weaves tall tales about the family's evacuation from their home on the tiny island of Roan Inish and his great-great grandfather, who once cheated death at the hands of the sea.

As she meets other villagers, Fiona hears more personal stories about an ancestor who married a beautiful, part-human/part-seal, and more about how the sea stole her baby brother, Jamie, during the departure from Roan Inish.

Later, Fiona believes that she has found Jamie romping in the grass on Roan Inish, and she must convince the family of her vision.

Cast[edit source | edit]

  • Jeni Courtney as Fiona
  • Eileen Colgan as Tess
  • Richard Sheridan as Eamon
  • Dave Duffy as Jim
  • Pat Slowey as Priest
  • Declan Hannigan as Oldest brother
  • Mairéad Ní Ghallchóir as Barmaid
  • Eugene McHugh as Bar Patron 1
  • Tony Rubini as Bar Patron 2
  • Mick Lally as Hugh
  • Michael MacCarthaigh as Schoolmaster
  • Fergal McElherron as Sean Michael
  • Brendan Conroy as Flynn
  • John Lynch as Tadhg
  • Susan Lynch as the Selkie
  • Frankie McCafferty as Tim
  • Cillian Byrne as Jamie

Production[edit source | edit]

Although in the original novel the story takes place in Scotland, the filmmakers decided to have the film take place in Ireland for practical reasons.[3]

Reception[edit source | edit]

Critical response[edit source | edit]

Critic Stephen Holden, film critic for The New York Times, liked the film's direction. He wrote, "The Secret of Roan Inish is the first film directed by Mr. Sayles that could be described as visually rhapsodic. Photographed by Haskell Wexler on Ireland's rugged northwestern seacoast, it is a cinematic tone poem in which man and nature, myth and reality flow together in a way that makes them ultimately indivisible."[4]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ a b Gerry Molyneaux, "John Sayles, Renaissance Books, 2000 p 216
  2. ^ The Secret of Roan Inish at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Abbe, Elfrieda. "`Secret of Roan Inish' a windswept mystery (Milwaukee Sentinel, Mar 3,1995)". BNET. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2008-09-30. [dead link]
  4. ^ Holden, Stephen. The New York Times, film review, "John Sayles in the Land of Enchantment", February 3, 1995.

External links[edit source | edit]