March 1, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

“Ondine”– A Whimsical Film by Award-Winning Director Neil Jordan

Ireland has one of the richest literary heritage in the world from James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Roddy Doyle, Bram Stoker, Thomas Moore, to Maeve Binchy, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett, CS Lewis, George William Russell, and John Banville. In addition, the enchanting Emerald Isle has an equally rich history of mythology and legends passed down from generation to generation by storytellers in songs, tales, and limericks.  Among the most famous in Celtic and Irish myths are: “The Dullahan;” tale of the headless horseman; “The Shamrock;” St. Patrick’s metaphor for teaching the Holy Trinity; and “The Harp,” which the king used to cheer up his people.  Other legends include, “Macha, Goddess of the Horses;” “The Leprechauns;” “The Mermaids;” “The Fairies,” “The Butterflies,” and “The Pooka,” the most feared creatures in Irish folklore.  This brings me to “Ondine” and the myth of the “Selkie,” a legendary water creature in Irish and Scottish folk tales that can change its appearance from a seal to a human being by shedding its skin. 

Alicja Bachleda as Ondine and Colin Farrell as the fisherman Syracuse in Neil Jordan’s film about a mythical Irish tale.

“Ondine,” originally released in 2009, was directed by gifted auteur Neil Jordan, who was feted for The Crying Game and Michael Collins.   The exquisitely shot film by cinematographer Chris Doyle can be described as an Irish romantic drama with mythological overtones.  It stars awesome Irish actor Colin Farrell, free to speak in his thick, luscious brogue in his portrayal of a struggling fisherman named Syracuse.  Filmed in the seaside fishing port of Castletownbere, Ireland, the story begins with a sweeping shot of the Atlantic Ocean that closes in on the long-haired, unkempt Syracuse steering his fishing boat in the choppy waters trolling for a catch, which has been very sparse lately.  Because of this, he has financial challenges in contributing child support for his daughter Annie, wonderfully played by Alison Barry, who lives with her drunk of a mother Maura, well done by Dervla Kirwan.  Suffering from a renal disease and needing a kidney, Annie is confined to a wheelchair, and requires dialysis. Sober for several years, but due to his past sometimes drunken clownish behavior, the townspeople nicknamed him Circus.  As he retrieves his net from the water, much to his shock, he finds trapped inside an unconscious woman who he brings back to life.  Alicja Bachleda plays the mysterious Ondine, who from the moment she is revived, refuses any medical attention and doesn’t want anyone to see her.  Respecting her wishes, he brings her to his grandmother’s empty cabin and dashes off to pick up his daughter for a treatment. He is very excited and confused about what he has just experienced, wondering how this woman could still be alive after having been submerged in the water for what was probably a length of time.  He wants to share his experience with Annie but frames it as a fairytale beginning with, “Once upon a time.”  At the end of the story, precocious Annie says, “That’s a real shite* story, jokingly adding that she must be a selkie.   The next day, back on the boat with Ondine, she sings a song that echoes deep into the water and when he brings up his net, it is full of fish and lobsters, which he had been unable to snare in the past.  Amazed at his bountiful catch he says, “You bring me luck.”  Our grateful fisherman wants to take his new friend into town to buy her clothes but she is reluctant so he goes shopping by himself where he purchases some clothing while stealing other items, which he stuffs into his pockets.  Not wanting to actually go for conventional confession, Syracuse visits his priest on a regular basis where they sit on a bench instead of the confession box. He confesses that he stole clothing for this strange woman. Played by the very talented Stephen Rea, his character is not your stereotypical priest, but one with a good sense of humor, understanding, and forgiveness in his heart.  “Will you steal again?  “Probably.”  “I thought so.”  In the meantime, this mysterious woman brings order to the cluttered cabin and plants flowers in the garden. Adding to the enigma surrounding her, is a haunting shot of a nearby lighthouse, where Ondine is sunning herself.  There is something otherworldly about the way she faces the sun and holds her body supporting the idea that she could be a selkie.  Syracuse convinces her to go into town for the annual boat races.  Suddenly, the brakes on Annie’s wheelchair fail to lock and she falls into the ocean but is quickly rescued by her dad’s new friend, cementing the notion of who she is.  As if bringing him bountiful catches and rescuing his daughter from the sea wasn’t enough, his ex-wife is in a car crash in which her disgusting boyfriend Alex (Tony Curran) dies.  More good luck, though, as he has a donor card and his kidney is a match for Annie.  It is about here that our beautiful myth begins to shred just a bit with the unexpected arrival of a man who threatens Ondine at which point the mystery of her identity supposedly begins to slowly unravel.  Our hero is angry at what he perceives as her deception and stashes her on a remote rocky island, breaks his sobriety, and the happy ending of this fairytale is uncertain, or is it?  

R-L: Syracuse (Colin Farrell) with his daughter Annie (Alison Barry) in Neil Jordan’s enigmatic “Ondine.”

As a sidebar, there is currently another film called “Undine,” by German director Christian Petzold, which is a modern version of the same myth.  It’s next up on my review list, so watch for it.   

*shit, trash or rubbish

Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: Current
Where: Streaming on Amazon
Genre: Romantic Drama
Language: English with Subtitles
Running Time: 111 Minutes
MPAS Rating: PG 13

in News
Related Posts

Construction Alert: Topanga Canyon Boulevard Faces Nightly Closures Starting March 4

March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024

Caltrans Announces 18-Mile Project Spanning Chatsworth to PCH Commuters in the Los Angeles area should prepare for significant delays as...

Film Review: Nyad

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

FILM REVIEWNYADRated PG-13121 MinutesReleased November 3rdOscar Nominations: Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress “I failed many times, but I can...

Security Officers Being Deployed at Big Blue Bus Stations and Routes

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

The Guards will be provided by a firm with other security contracts with the city of Santa Monica  By Zach...

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

Upcoming Ice Cream Shop on Montana Ave. Will Serve Multitude of Vegan Flavors

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

The Company Has Come a Long Way Since Its Humble Beginnings as a New York City Food Truck By Zach...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @smmirrornews Pro-Palestine...

(Video) Restaurants Replace Glass Front Doors After Late Night Robbery Spree in Del Ray

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Seven restaurants and small businesses in Del Rey and Venice, including Nick the Greek and Dudley Market, were robbed. Council...

SMMUSD Appoints New Asst. Superintendent of Education Services

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Dr. Williamson Will Assume Her Role on March 8, Bringing 17 Years of Education Experience In a special board meeting...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

Iconic Venice Beach Sculpture and Landmark to be Removed, Returned to Artist’s Property

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Since the Money, Effort or Desire to Purchase the Piece Appears to Not Be There, the Artist Wants It Back...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...