From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ondine - B

Rated PG-13 for some violence, sensuality and brief strong language, 102 minutes

"Ondine" - a lovely fairy tale that treads familiar waters

"Ondine" is an Irish fairy tale about a fisherman who believes he has discovered a mermaid. It's a handsomely photographed, well-acted and tender story from Neil Jordan ("Interview with the Vampire") and starring bad boy Colin Ferrell in a change of pace for him. The script is a little uneven and slow, but there are a handful of nice, poignant moments.

"Ondine" tells the story of Syracuse (Colin Farrell), an Irish fisherman whose life is transformed when he catches a beautiful and mysterious woman (Polish actress Alicja Bachleda) in his nets. She says her name is Ondine, which means "she came from the sea." His ailing but irrepressible daughter Annie (Alison Barry) comes to believe that the woman is a selkie, a magical seal/woman creature who can transform themselves into a human, while Syracuse falls helplessly in love. All goes well until the real, dark world intercedes in the tale, and Syracuse, Annie and Ondine are forced to deal with secrets that could permanently all of their lives.

"Ondine" is a well-developed, emotionally satisfying story that's part love story and part fairy tale, all with dark shadings. It all has a familiar ring to it, but those that stay with the story will appreciate it's poignant payoff in the end. "Ondine" is especially memorable for the low-key but believeable turn from Ferrell, who gives his best performance in several years and this, along with the recent "Crazy Heart," proves he may be developing into a solid character actor.

The title role is well-played by a novice, Polish actress Bachelda, a risky move for director Jordan considering he could've gone with a more well-known actress in the role. The role is the film's trickiest and the more underdeveloped; Bachelda plays it well though a little emotionally vacant at times. The role probably could've been more skillfully played by a better actress, but we'll never know that. Newcomer Alison Barry is outstanding as Ferrell's daughter and nearly outshines him; she's the real heart and soul of the film and has some of the best scenes. Watch for director Jordan's favorite actor (he's collaborated with Jordan on several films) Stephen Rea in a small role as a priest.

"Ondine" may not please everyone, but then most fairy tales don't. Either you'll like it or you won't with little in between. I happened to enjoy it, particularly the restrained Ferrell performance.