The Quiet Girl
5 out of 5 stars
The first Irish language feature to compete at Berlin, and winner of seven Irish Film and Television Awards, including Best Film, Colm Bairéad’s adaptation of Claire Keegan’s 2010 short story Foster is one of the first feature-length Irish language films to be produced as part of a program to develop a representation of the language in media.
In The Quiet Girl, we are introduced to Cáit (pronounced Court), a nine-year-old shunned at school and treated with indifference by her pregnant mother and her father. Am man cares more about gambling than his wife and four daughters. Cáit (Catherine Clinch) experiences love and warmth for the first time after being packed off to spend the summer with Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley) and Seán (Andrew Bennett), older relatives with a rustic dairy farm in Waterford.
This film is an achingly beautiful story of found family and being valued and given worth. Cáit may be a young girl of few words, but she sees the world with innocence and wisdom beyond her years. To sit in the theatre was a privilege to see the world through her eyes and experience the love she was given. The Quiet Girl is an emotional film that left me teary-eyed and with audible sobs in the theatre, weeping at the aching beauty on display.
After the screening, the audience was privileged to have a 15-minute Q&A from the director Colm Bairéad. He shared about the incredible talent of the young Catherine Clinch and the power of being able to tell a story in the original Irish language. The universality of the story of a foster girl and the love finally given her that she deserves.
There is something so tender and powerful in how the film unfolds with such a genuine connection. No relationship feels rushed. The love that develops is so beautiful. The power of its ending will bring tears to the eyes of all who see it.
Reel Dialogue: The power of familial love
Cáit’s young life has been lonely, with few friends and a difficult family. It’s a relief for us to see how much empathy she is given whilst living with her mother’s cousins. And it demonstrates so clearly the importance of loving families. Whether they be biological or circumstantial, those whom we come to call family should be those who care, love, support, and provide for us.
Those who share a faith in Christ are adopted into a family. We get to call God, our Father and Christ, our brother. We get to share together as brothers and sisters in Christ, enjoying love and compassion. We love those in our family, because the head of the family, God, first loved us.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. - 1 John 4:20