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A Shine of Rainbows (2009)

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A lonely orphan's life is transformed by an extraordinary woman who teaches him to conquer grief and discover the magic in nature and himself.


4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Tara Alice Scully ...
Kieran Lagan ...
Frances Quinn ...
Joy McBrinn ...
Rag Lady
Father Doyle
Lee Satell ...
Adam Downey ...
Shane Mahon ...
Orphan Boy #1


Maire O'Donnell is a loving woman as rare as a double rainbow. Joyful, warm and caring, she adopts a young orphan named Tomas and whisks him off to a new home on remote Corrie Island, off the coast of Ireland. Maire shares with Tomas the joys of her island home and introduces him to the whimsical local folklore, including the secret of the seals, and teaches him that everything you need is inside of you- if you really look. But Maire's stern husband Alec silently disapproves of Tomas' timidity and halting speech. He can't hide his disappointment that Tomas isn't the kind of child he was hoping for and his reluctance to get to know the boy makes Tomas unsure of whether he really belongs. Soon though, Tomas too falls in love with his home, befriending local children, descending into a secret bat-filled cave, and saving a stranded baby seal. When tragedy strikes however, Tomas is faced with his greatest challenge yet. He'll lose everything unless he can find- and share- the unique gifts ... Written by Sepiafilms

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rainbow | island | love | ireland | orphan | See All (38) »


The greatest journeys are the ones that bring you home See more »


Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and smoking | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

13 February 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tomás and the Rainbow  »


Box Office


CAD 6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielsen had previously worked together in Return to Sender (2004). See more »


The image of the double rainbow shown near the end is incorrect. The colors of the second (outer) rainbow will be inverted, with blue on the outside and red moved to the inside. The second bow will appear dimmer or cloudier. See more »


Maire: But that's nothing compared to being right inside a rainbow.
Tomás: You can really be inside one?
Maire: Aye. One day I'll show you that.
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The Trip To Inistrahull
Composed by Lorna McLaughlin
Performed by The Henry Girls
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Works well, even with flaws
3 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

Tomas is a young orphan who is rescued from a drab church orphanage in Ireland by a 'rainbow' in the form of Maire (Connie Neilsen) who takes him to live with her and her husband on a small island of the coast of Ireland with a view to the couple adopting him permanently.

We are spared the most of cruelties that Tomas must have suffered in the orphanage (this film steers completely clear of the clerical abuses suffered by many children in Ireland's church-run institutions of the period).

If Maire is a rainbow to Tomas, her husband Alec (Aidan Quinn), a decent but surly man, is a storm cloud. He doesn't warm to the boy, as Tomas falls short of his expectations. Throughout the film, chinks of light shine through the cloud as it seems Alec is warming to Tomas, but the cloud soon moves over again...

There are many emotional moments in the film, from the outset. Overall, it works very well, and ends on a high note, though there is much heart- wrenching in between. Slightly off-putting for me was Tomas' accent, which sounds Scottish rather than Irish, as well as my perception that the emerging acting talents of the young John Bell (Tomas) didn't seem quite capable of delivering with as much naturalness as I would have expected.

A moving and compelling film.

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