deadCenter Review: “Ondine”
Directed by Neil Jordan
At the core of Neil Jordan’s play on Irish mythology Ondine is the classic question of fantasy: ‘Do you believe it’?
Such tales work best when examining childlike faith and this film is no exception. Nine(ish)-year-old Annie (Alison Barry) absolutely glows as a purposeful, precocious fisherman’s daughter suffering renal failure, and when her two-years-sober father Syracuse (Colin Farrell) hoists a lovely young woman (Alicja Bachleda) out of the water in his fishing net, young Annie scamps off to the library to read about Irish mermaids, called ‘selkies’.
Syracuse himself is hard-pressed to explain the woman’s appearance as any way other than supernatural. He resuscitates the curvy Ondine (it’s pronounced ‘Ondeen’), as she later names herself, and gives her a safe place to stay at his mother’s house, hidden in the Scottish hills along the lake (or ‘lach’, as the characters’ thick brogue pronounce it). Annie, often humorously in her plaintive charm, continues to point out the alignment of Ondine’s behavior with that of selkie lore as her father flirts with the woman of mysterious origin.
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