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Love & Savagery (2009)

1:47 | Trailer
In 1969, a visiting geologist from Newfoundland arouses scandal in a small Irish village when he romances a local girl who's destined for the convent.


John N. Smith


Des Walsh (book), Des Walsh
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Allan Hawco ... Michael
Sarah Greene ... Cathleen
Louise Nicol Louise Nicol ... Mrs. Collins - the Principal
Martha Burns ... Mother Superior
Nicholas Campbell ... Senior Tinker
Macdara Ó Fátharta Macdara Ó Fátharta ... Thomas Collins
Sean Panting Sean Panting ... Wilfred
Anne Butler Anne Butler ... Mrs. Quigley
Amber Cull Amber Cull ... Mary Callaghan
Lesley Dowey Lesley Dowey ... Maura
Frank Deacy Frank Deacy ... Father Joseph
Aiden Flynn Aiden Flynn ... Liam Collins
Dylan Smith ... Sean Collins
Mark Whelan ... Jim Hyland
Andy Jones Andy Jones ... Older Man at Reading


Love and Savagery is a story of passion, fate, and the consequences of the two. In 1968, Newfoundland geologist and poet, Michael McCarthy, travels to Ballyvaughan to examine the "Burren" a geological wonder. There he meets Cathleen, a beautiful woman who captures his heart, but because of the path she chose when she was young she cannot allow him to capture hers. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Canada | Ireland


English | Irish

Release Date:

10 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

County Clare, Ireland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Samples of ammonite fossils "collected" from the Burren are shown in the movie. These fossils are from rocks of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (~200 to 65 Ma, and not the older Carboniferous (~350 Ma) period. See more »

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User Reviews

A rare gem from a Canada/Ireland co-production: easily overlooked!
12 December 2013 | by feodoricSee all my reviews

I caught this by sheer curiosity on Netflix. One of these purely intuitive, instinctive selections that turn out to be pretty rewarding in the end... I was much intrigued by the capsule on Netflix which went by something like "while doing field work near a small port on the Ireland coast, a young geologist from Newfoundland becomes enamored of a serene, innocent local girl who has a strong personal relation with God". I'm paraphrasing here but that was basically the only introductory note. I found it rather exotic and enough out of the beaten path to capture my insatiable curiosity.

And God did I have a good idea today! Because compared to the truckloads of manure that are shipped from the big studios every year, this was so extraordinarily refreshing and so powerful despite its modest means. It's the best demonstration that one does need only truth and truthfulness to make a film interesting, provided that you come up with an original setup. Sometimes, hundreds of millions are spent with good purpose and a mega-production may live up to its promises and need the investment made simply because of the cost required to make unique and perfectly credible illusions. The best example is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which remains to this day my number 1 movie of all times. But next to a 2001, films such as "Love and Savagery", with a ridiculously low budget, no-name yet excellent actors, and intrinsically gorgeous scenery manage to grasp a viewer's attention and imagination and leave a durable impression on him/her.

I will not unveil anything of the story except the premises: Michael, a young Newfoundlander gets acquainted with Cathleen - played by Sarah Greene, a young Irish actress and a name to remember- a pretty girl working in a pub and who plans to enter the local convent and become a nun. Michael learns about her career plans almost right from the beginning, and the film describes the evolution of his ardent, devoted courtship in an environment increasingly hostile to him for several reasons. And I'll stop here. The rest is for everyone to discover for oneself.

Let's say that this is about the mystery of Love when boy meets girl and an earthquake follows in both individuals. I'm using the capital "L" not because God is at the center of the intrigue, but simply to indicate that the movie is about the universal value of the word, i.e. physical love (the sexual aspect of love) as well as love as the cement that transcends all differences and that can overcome all hardships and abolish all wars, the love of serious hippies.... Hence my use of Love. The movie is about that Love as lived by two individuals who have to cope with its far-reaching implications.

My review would be incomplete if I forgot to give a special mention about the splendid role of Cathleen. Sarah Greene's expression and acting perspires the sort of purity, of virginal candor that would be expected from her vocation, and yet, she also shows great strength, the same solidity that we see in the intriguing, unique limestone formations studied by Michael around her small Irish hometown. I am looking forward to see more of her. She is absolutely mesmerizing as an actress, and she has both true external and internal beauty by standards of her own. She has a gorgeous face that does not fit with the usual Hollywoodian or Cannesian canons, but is more comparable to these actresses who look serious while taking your breath away, e.g. Lisa McAllister, Susie Parker, etc. Entirely believable in her role in Love & Savagery, and the film works largely because of this. A key element to why this is a pure gem.

A magnificent pearl from the rugged coastlines of Newfoundland and Ireland, and how Love will bridge the wide ocean that separates these two regions. Do yourself a big favor today and watch this film.

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