Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet! In Brief: An unusual film to come from indie filmmaker John Sayles, The Secret of Roan Inish is completely out of keeping with the generally cynical tone of his other work. To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Subscribe to the Xpress Newsletter and get all the week's print stories delivered to your inbox!

Sayles is the last person on Earth you’d expect to be making a “family film,” but that might be part of the reason this 1995 film works as well as it does.
His directing credits include the very fantasticated Brother From Another Planet (1984), while his writing credits encompass such things as Piranha (1978) and The Howling (1981). What works is Sayles’ refusal to make the material “precious.” In other hands, the story of a little girl (Jeni Courtney) learning, exploring and reclaiming the family history — involving a race of mermaid-like were-seals called Selkies — could probably have been milked for maximum cuteness. Sayles approaches it all in a matter-of-fact manner that’s both refreshing and perfectly in keeping with the story’s coastal Ireland setting, a world in which such things are not thought of as impossible.

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