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This Is My Father (1998)

R | | Romance, Drama | 7 May 1999 (USA)
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2:16 | Trailer

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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Paul Quinn

Writer:

Paul Quinn
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Caan ... Kieran Johnson
Jacob Tierney ... Jack
Colm Meaney ... Seamus
Moira Deady Moira Deady ... Mrs. Kearney
Susan Almgren Susan Almgren ... Betty
Pauline Hutton Pauline Hutton ... Maria
Fiona Glascott ... Nuala
Françoise Graton Françoise Graton ... Old Fiona
Joel Gordon Joel Gordon ... Brian Winters
Alexandra Spunt Alexandra Spunt ... Female Student
Victoria Sanchez ... Female Student
Terrence Scammell ... Chicago Radio DJ
Pat Leavy Pat Leavy ... Woman Farmer
Aiden Condron Aiden Condron ... Bartender
Peadar Lamb Peadar Lamb ... Man in Pub
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Storyline

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 ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Journey Of The Heart.

Genres:

Romance | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

Ireland | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 May 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apám története See more »

Filming Locations:

Croghan, Co. Offaly. Ireland See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$54,876, 9 May 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,078,737, 10 October 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last cinema film of Donal Donnelly. See more »

Quotes

Fiona Flynn: So what do you want?
Kieran O'Day: Tonight I asked God to help me forget you. I prayed all night trying to get you out of my mind. But you were all that filled it. I tried to remember what it was like before you... I couldn''t remember. I tried to imagine what it would be like without you... and nothing came to me. I love you. That''s the truth. I love you. And it scares me. It scares me because everyone seems so dead set against us. But I want you to know, that if you'll have me, I'll be your man. I'll give...
See more »

Connections

Features The Montel Williams Show (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Garbo's Jam
Written by Andrew Homzy
Performed by The Valentine Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
A trip to Ireland in search of a father
9 May 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Paul Quinn, the director of "This is my father", shows a tremendous talent for bringing this fine layered story to the screen. Working on his own screen play, he was obviously the right person to be at the helm of this fine film. It appears that he got a lot of help, not only of his own brothers, but from a lot of well meaning people in this production.

If you haven't watched the film, maybe you should stop reading.

The film focuses on Kieran Johnson, the Chicago schoolteacher, ones encounters at the beginning of the movie with his students. His sick mother, Fiona, is being taken care at home by a daughter, and Kieran helps in his own, limited way. Watching his mother in her sick bed motivates him to go to Ireland in a voyage to discover a part of his life which he never knew.

Upon arrival, accompanied by his nephew, they go to the rural area where his mother rears from. They get to stay at a modest bed and breakfast run by a greedy man. Seamus' old mother holds the key to the mystery surrounding how he came to be born and to know the truth about what happened to his mother. In the process we are taken in flashbacks to another era.

Kieran O'Day, is a young man working in a small farm with the Meaneys. Beautiful Fiona is a local girl living with a widowed mother. It's obvious from the start these two like one another in more ways than meet the eye. The local town is dominated by the ruthless priests that see smut and lewdness in every one in the small town. In fact, most of what derails the lives of all of the people in the story seems to have been caused by the narrow mindedness of the clergy that held such a grip in the Irish society of the time.

Kieran and Fiona eventually realize the love they feel for one another, but fate will come between them in unexpected ways. The film ends in tragedy, as Kieran Johnson gets to know that O'Day was his father and what became of him.

In a lovely sequence, we watch as young Kieran and Fiona make a detour to a nearby beach because the car they've been traveling breaks down. While walking in the beach, they witness as a single engine plane come for a landing near them. They meet the American pilot, Eddie Sharp, a National Geographic photographer, who is taking pictures of Ireland. It's a lovely moment where the would-be-lovers interplay with the stranger and all seem to be at peace. Eddie is responsible for taking the only picture where Kieran and Fiona are seen together. That is the only clue left for their son to go on his search for their past.

The amazing, largely Irish, cast do an outstanding job in recreating the people in the story. Moya Farrelly, the lovely young Fiona, is one of the best things in the film. Aidan Quinn, as Kieran, delivers a good performance in his portrayal of this lonely man of the country who finds love that proves to be fatal. James Caan, as Kieran Johnson, has some good moments, but of course, he is only seen in a few key scenes. John Cusack's contribution as the friendly aviator is one of the highlights of the movie.

The supporting cast makes the film what it is. Colm Meany, Donald Donnelly, Gina Moxley, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Moira Deady, among others, are the main reason for watching the movie. Most of them have had better opportunities in other movies, but as an ensemble they respond to Mr. Quinn's direction.

Congratulations to Paul Quinn. We wish him well in whatever project he decides to direct!


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