This Is My Father (I) (1998)
- Summaries (3)
Widowed Kieran Johnson is a lonely, middle-aged, Chicago-based high school history teacher who feels disconnected to his life. He decides to take a trip to his mother's small old hometown of Kilronan, County Galway, Ireland after he discovers an old photograph of her, she who now cannot speak due to a stroke, with a man he has never seen. He suspects this man may be his biological father. On the urging of his sister, Kieran takes his teen-aged nephew Jack on the trip. In Kilronan, Mrs. Kearney, the innkeeper's mother and a bit of a gypsy woman who has lived in the area for the better part of her life, tells Kieran and Jack about life in the town in 1939 when a high-spirited Fiona Flynn, Kieran's mother, started seeing a peat farmer named Kieran O'Day. Kieran O'Day grew up a "poorhouse bastard", and as such he was always shy and considered an outsider amongst the townsfolk. Because of his standing in the community and the differences in their ages (she being only seventeen, he in his thirties), Fiona and Kieran's relationship was looked down upon by those considered the upstanding in town, including Fiona's widowed mother, Mary Flynn, and those associated with the church. Mrs. Kearney slowly tells the entire story of Kieran and Fiona's relationship, the tragedy that prevented their love for not being enough to endure the scrutiny, the stories of the "curses" that befell the Flynn family, and the truth behind the person Kieran Johnson knew as his father.
Kudos to the previous summary by Huggo. My only added input is scenes i remember poignantly from the story, and superb displays of acting. Fiona's anxiety during the curse. The curse. The moment Fiona in present state sighs during the reading of the back of the picture. The cigarette stained fingers of the holier than thou priest, doling out the old guilt to anyone during mass that would have any part of it. Peat. Peat. Single Malt Scotch. (sorry off on a tangent) The Irish accent The good greed/bad greed among the storyteller and son The raw emotion James Caan displayed at the grave. The beauty of Ireland and Canada.
A middle-aged teacher discovers photos from his mother's past that convinces him that she has not told the truth about his real father. Venturing into Ireland where he believes his real father to be, a past romance slowly unfolds.
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