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THIS IS MY FATHER

SYNOPSIS:
Kieran Johnson (James Caan) is a lonely and disillusioned high school teacher in Chicago, who discovers an old photo that launches him on a quest for his Irish family roots - a search for his father's history, back in the village where his mother Fiona (Moya Farrelly) was born. The story of his mother's love affair with his father Kieran O'Day (Aiden Qunn) turns out to be a lot more complicated, romantic and tragic than he ever anticipated. And it is told to him in stops and starts, chiefly by the all-knowing and ageing Mrs Kierney, who was a lass at the time.

Aidan Quinn won the Noosa Film Festival Best Actor Award for this performance (directed by his brother Paul, photographed by brother Declan), as the father of the story, told in flashback, through a journey to his family's tragic roots by Kieran Johnson (James Caan). Screened at the fest on Father's Day, it is indeed a sort of Irish poem or ode to a father. I say sort of because Irish poems are never straight forward like American ones. There is anger, pain, love, playfulness and crimson hate involved, all of it reflective of the Irish way of life.

While this is a fine, sensitive and involving film, it sags under the weight of familiarity. We know these pre-war Irish villages and villagers, we expect their crustiness and their robust bigotry, so the revelations of true love coming a cropper against the steadfast rock of social disgrace are not as effective as they might have been. Yet the performances are true, and warmly affecting - or irritatingly, predictably brittle. It's a love story with tragic tones, and the craftsmanship is evident; if only there was a tad more unpredictability to keep us on edge.
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
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Unfavourable:
Mixed: 1


THIS IS MY FATHER
(Canada/Ireland)

CAST: Aidan Quinn, James Caan, Stephen Rea, John Cusack, Jacob Tierney, Colm Meany, Moya Farrelly, Donal Donnelly, Brendan Gleeson
DIRECTOR: Paul Quinn
PRODUCERS: Nicholas Clermont, Philip King
SCRIPT: Paul Quinn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Declan Quinn
EDITOR: Glenn Berman
MUSIC: Donal Lunny
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Frank Conway
RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent

VIDEO RELEASE: August 8, 2001







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