Vanetia Casey (Maxine Peake), the spirited and impossibly optimistic center of the Casey family, is working hard to get life back to normal after her 38 year-old husband, Conor (Edward MacLiam), suffers a rare stroke which changes his personality. Tweedy American doctor, Ted Fielding, (Will Forte) arrives in Ireland to stay with them for two months: his research grant providing the Caseys with essential financial aid. Vanetia's a dynamo. But with two young kids and both men in the house, she's feeling bombarded and initially treats Ted and his study of Conor with resistance. Only when she observes Ted's calming influence on the family does she begin to value his friendship, and, in return, Ted enjoys their heady, happy-go-lucky world. But Ted's continued presence in the house sets the family on course for an emotional collision. Directed by Academy Award®-nominee Steph Green and featuring Saturday Night Live star Will Forte in an impressive dramatic debut, this life-affirming film ...Written by
While you're waiting for Netflix to stream the last two seasons of "Silk,"* you may want to take a look at this intriguing indie. Maxine Peake gives a fine, energetic performance as Vanetia Casey, a beleaguered housewife in County Kerry, a long way from the Inns of Court. The setup may seem a little contrived—Vanetia's husband, Conor, is a stroke survivor whose recovery's being monitored by an American brain researcher, Ted (Will Forte), who's camped out in their teenage son's bedroom—but the plot starts ticking over as Ted, played as a standoffish nerd at first, loosens up and starts to bond with mother and son.
Edward MacLiam gives a convincing performance as Conor, a volatile wild child who's entranced by the animals in a petting zoo but taunts his son with homophobic slurs; Conor's parents turn up in a couple of scenes as reminders of the old, unforgiving Ireland that we're familiar with from films like "Philomena." (If the script has a fault, it's that these intergenerational conflicts seem a little cut and dried.) That's a lot to pack into 106 minutes, but Vanetia and Ted's grass-fed (wait for it!), flirtatious friendship is pretty delightful and saves the film from being just another grim indie study of family conflict. Great locations, great music, from the Magnetic Fields to a haunting Irish lament.
* After more than two years, still only available on Blu-ray or as an expensive rental on Amazon Gobshites! [01/07/17]
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