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An awkward young Irish farm girl Kate Brady moves to Dublin and shares a room with funny, outgoing Baba Brennan, where she soon meets Eugene Gaillard, a middle-aged writer, who is immediately attracted to the shy and innocent Kate, ignoring the more sophisticated Baba. Written by
Long into watching this studiously "small," slice-of-life portrait of a naive young woman, I was still wondering if the film would turn out, in the end, to have been worth watching. Earnest in its desire to be grittily true-to-life, in the neo-realist manner of the Angry Young Men, it is also clearly intoxicated with the quotidian lyricism and plain-spoken poetry of la nouvelle vague. It attempts to be charming and brutally frank at the same time, and manages, to some extent, to carry it off.
But will we end up caring about Tushingham's somewhat obtuse small town escapee, or Finch's sophisticated cold fish? Or will we be left with the rather sodden sensation that we've wasted our time eavesdropping on bores? For my part, I was pleasantly surprised. The story ends with the palpable sense that Kate has grown up a bit, and Eugene has grown a little older and sadder. We've looked on as two people have lived their bittersweet lives, much as we live our own -- and we're a little sad to bid them adieu.
To sum up: not as fresh and appealing today as it probably seemed in its time, but still rewarding and worthwhile.
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