MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
When you are a child in a large family, often it’s hard to receive much attention or care. When you are a quiet, moody middle child, it’s very easy to be misunderstood by your parents and intimidated by your older siblings. Such is the life of Cáit (Clinch), the young girl known as “the wanderer” in the family. She is apt to make herself appear still and small at home and in school. Her father is a bit of a drinker and her mother is overworked and distracted. There really doesn’t seem to be much of a future for this quiet girl.
Now it’s the summer of 1981 and life would be simpler for everyone if Cáit could spend the season away in the country with her mother’s cousins, Eibhlín (Crowley) and Seán (Andrew Bennett), an older middle-aged childless couple. While Seán is quiet and outwardly gruff, Eibhlín is determined to patiently take time and pay attention to their summer guest. Rather than judge Cáit as others do, she strives to get to know this child and slowly draw her out, including her in the daily tasks of cooking, cleaning and getting water from the well. Since these times of work are also opportunities for companionship, Cáit finds new life and joy and a place of peace apart from the hectic pace at home.
That’s about all that happens in this leisurely-paced movie, but it’s nevertheless a lovely story. There are already plenty of films about middle-school athletes, glee club singers, and STEM brainiacs. Here is a movie that willingly embraces the life of a wistful introvert and demands nothing more than an opportunity for grace to do its thing. The entire film is primarily told from Cáit’s perspective, which provides the viewer a gateway for empathy.
I have often encountered persons who live solitary lives through no fault of their own, but simply because the quiet ones are easy to ignore and pass over. Thankfully, in most congregations, there is room for everyone to serve and to grow. And – as this film shows so well – extended family relationships can make a difference.
The apostle Paul once described the church as the Body of Christ, made up of many members, and emphasized that every part (the eyes, the feet, the hands, etc.) is indispensable. I guess that’s why we need loud, bombastic movies like Top Gun Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water and also gentle films like The Quiet Girl, which does a nice job demonstrating the love that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13. Read that chapter and then go see this film; it will be one of the best Bible studies ever.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Five halos: A simple story about love and acceptance that takes its time.
Two pitchforks: Implied offscreen infidelity; brief strong swearing – with subtitles!; smoking and drinking.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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