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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.


Vic Sarin
4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Connie Nielsen ... Maire
Aidan Quinn ... Alec
John Bell ... Tomás
Jack Gleeson ... Seamus
Tara Alice Scully Tara Alice Scully ... Nancy
Niamh Shaw Niamh Shaw ... Katy
Kieran Lagan Kieran Lagan ... Ned
Frances Quinn Frances Quinn ... Mrs. Kane
Karl O'Neill ... Fergus
Joy McBrinn Joy McBrinn ... Rag Lady
Ian McElhinney ... Father Doyle
Lee Satell Lee Satell ... Rory
Adam Downey Adam Downey ... Jack
Shane Mahon Shane Mahon ... Paddy
Fionn O'Shea ... 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:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »


Canada | Ireland



Release Date:

13 February 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tomás and the Rainbow See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The opening scenes in the orphanage were filmed in the abandoned building of a mental hospital. 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 »


Tomás: When I first saw you at the home, I pretended you are my real Mom.
Maire: We could let ourselves pretend that's what I am now.
Tomás: If I could call you Mom, I could believe it.
Maire: Then why not call me Mom? I'd like that.
See more »


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

Rainbow Love
12 September 2012 | by brooklyn-gilmoreSee all my reviews

If you're looking for a feel good film, "A Shine of Rainbows" (2009) maybe right up your alley. Pop the lid off the Midol, swallow a couple of capsules, put on your stretchy sweat pants allowing room for the bloat, dig out the heating pad, lay on the couch and pull up "A Shine of Rainbows" on your Instant Queue playlist on Netflix and let the tears roll. It's a real feel-good experience. (Hopefully, your significant other won't view it as another one of your bawling shows).

Maire O'Donnell (Connie Nielson) is a happy go-lucky, colorful, free spirited woman who adopts ten-year-old Tomas from an orphanage, and takes him to her home on Corrie Island, off the coast of Ireland. Once Tomas arrives, he must learn to adapt to his surroundings on the island, learn to make friends with children his age regardless of his inability to speak without stuttering, and win the heart of Maire's husband, Alec (Aidan Quinn) in order to stay on the island. Alec silently disapproves of Tomas' timidness and stutter, which causes friction between Maire and Alec.

Maire's positive, vibrant, and warm personality teaches Tomas everything that he needs to know lies within himself--all he has to do search within. When tragedy strikes, Tomas digs deep to find solace with nature and with himself. Tomas is convinced that love exists when he experiences the beauty of an exploded rainbow and the magic that it holds.

"A Shine of Rainbows won" the Heartland Film Festival Award. The message in "A Shine of Rainbows" is powerfully intoxicating, devastatingly sad, and realistically rewarding displaying array of hope in the most tragic of circumstances. This film touches the heart inside out, leaving the viewer with a trail of tears and a deeper meaning about the magic of love.

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