The Quiet Girl
It is still a Wednesday but the Oscar Season has begun. And by that, I mean that many films are nominated by different countries for the 95th Academy Award Under The Foreign Film Category. And in turn that means that there will be plenty of good content to watch and review, an event which should last for the rest of the year and perhaps the early part of new year too. Up until now I had watched only Decision To Leave, South Korea’s official entry to the Oscars. And while I await the theatrical release of India’s Official Entry to the Oscars tiltled Chhello Show(aka Last Film Show), I happened to watch a film titled The Quiet Girl which is Ireland’s official entry to the Academy Awards this year. Again I did not know anything about the film before venturing into it but now that I have finished watching The Quiet Girl, here are my two cents on it.
Story & Screenplay
Based on a short story titled “Foster”, The Quiet Girl follows the story of a girl neglected by her parents in a dysfunctional family, who is sent to stay with foster parents. The story is simple yet profoundly impactful with its subtle tonalities which manage to hit home. The screenplay standing at a shade above 90 minutes meant that the drama wasn’t overindulgent.
Very early on in the film, you get a glimpse of the world surrounding the protagonist who is a quiet little nine year old. As they say, a dysfunctional family affects children the most and it almost seemed as if her silence was a metaphor for the many mountains and pain that she had buried inside her. Her parents, also parents to other children, have been neglecting her and not even valuing her existence. Soon a ray of hope appears in the form of foster parents who are given the responsibility of the little girl after her mother is pregnant with another child.
The drama is soothing and unfolds almost like a poetry which is subtle in its nuances. It never gets melodramatic and always stays rooted to reality. And this is one reason why the drama does feel so organic, almost free flowing like a river. The proceedings are also an interesting character study of the major players here. My next couple of paragraphs will contain minor spoilers, so viewers discretion advised.
There is a clear demarcation between the foster parents and the actual parents of the nine year old. While the actual parents already have other kids of their own, they are less appreciative of any of their children, looking down upon them almost like a mere responsibility. While on the other hand, the foster parents are more loving and caring towards the nine year old, having lost a son of their own. Loss as they say makes you value things a lot better just like a few sorrows in life. What is life but a mere experience of learning and hardship. But the life lessons are valuable and go a long way. Another observation been that the foster father, still in trauma of losing his own son, slowly begins to care for the girl after he finds her to momentarily disappear one day. Moments like these go a long way in defining a relationship. And there are plenty of such heartfelt moments here.
Another saying goes that children are like small buds, if you nip them early they will never blossom. But if you give time to them and nourish them with your thoughts and values, you will watch them blossom. And that is exactly what happened with the nine year old. You could almost see the shift in her personality. From a cloudy mind which was wearing her down to transforming it into a sponge(notice her asking questions as opposed to staying quiet earlier). In a beautiful scene at the end, the nine year old runs away(running is a metaphor for freedom and liberation, something seen in the Vikramaditya Motwane directed film Udaan too) only to hug her foster father and calling him ‘Daddy’ while her actual father is seen to walk towards her. These are moments that formulate a beautiful tale which is just so impactful.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are subtle yet profoundly impactful. The BGM is sparingly used, almost allowing the viewers to sink into the drama by forming their own opinions about the characters. Having said that, there is a deft melancholic tone playing in the background that almost nudges you into feeling connected with the drama. The cinematography comprises of some beautiful shots that are just so breathtaking and wonderful to witness. Director Colm Bairead does an outstanding job here in creating a soothing and meditative atmosphere for the viewer and weaving a rather sensitive story around it.
The performances are outstanding here. Carrie Crowley as Eibhlin delivers a heartwarming and heartfelt performance that almost felt like a warm embrace. Andrew Bennett as Sean has a layered and complex character with a lovely character arc. And he does a splendid job here. Catherine Clinch as Cait is a beautifully performer with such expressive eyes. And she delivers a subtle and nuanced performance that gently tugs the strings of your heart. All other performers are pretty good as well.
The Quiet Girl is a subtly profound and supremely impactful film that comes with my highest recommendation.