I received a free digital Screening in exchange for this honest An Irish Goodbye movie review.
An Irish Goodbye is a short film nominated for Best British Short Film at the 76th BAFTA Awards and nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards®–it is the only British film to be nominated in the OSCAR category. A Floodlight Pictures film in association with First Flights and Northern Ireland Screen. It was written and directed by Tom Berkeley and Ross White.
Logline: “On a farm in rural Northern Ireland, estranged brothers Turlough (Seamus O’Hara) and Lorcan (James Martin) are forced to reunite following the untimely death of their mother (Michelle Fairley). But when the pair discover an unfulfilled bucket list belonging to their late mum, their pained reunion takes an altogether different course.”
When Father O’Shea asks if Turlough is taking Lorcan to live in England with him, Lorcan is not happy to learn he is to live with his Auntie Margaret. Father O’Shea tells the sons that the undertaker found a list, a bucket list if you will, of things their mother wanted to do, Turlough isn’t interested in it.
Lorcan and Turlough are at odds and Lorcan makes it clear he wants to stay and work the farm—he has no filter on what he wants. Turlough reminds him he’s to go live with Auntie Margaret when Turlough returns to England. The tension between the brothers is thicker than a heavy fog. Lorcan overhears Turlough making arrangements to sell the farm and appears to run away the day he’s to move in with Auntie Margaret.
Lorcan proposes a deal to finish their mum’s list, which he seems to have. To appease his brother, Turlough agrees before learning there are 100 items on the list. As the brothers team up to accomplish everything, they make modifications along the way. All the while, Lorcan keeps up with the farm work. After the skydiving goes awry, Lorcan takes his half of their mother’s remains. The brothers are at an impasse.
Father O’Shea returns to help Lorcan move, and Lorcan insists he must say goodbye and runs up to his room. As Turlough and Father O’Shea talk, Turlough learns a secret about the list. Turlough goes up to Lorcan’s room and hears him praying. They talk, Lorcan confesses, and they discuss finishing the list. With item 100, their mum wanted to go to outer space, so they have an amazing fireworks display.
Item 101 is the heart of the matter between Lorcan and Turlough. This list has brought them together in unexpected ways. It’s touching and beautiful and heartbreaking as well as heartfelt.
James Martin’s portrayal of the brother with Down Syndrome is acting perfection. We see Lorcan as a human first, not just a person with a disability. His performance drives the film. Lorcan is a strong character with heart and soul.
Seamus O’Hara gives a sincere performance showing us Turlough’s struggles as the brother with the weight of decisions on his shoulders alone, but he learns he needs to give grace to his brother who has a voice which needs to be heard.
The narration of the mother’s voice by Michelle Fairley gives authenticity to the items on the list.
Paddy Jenkins as Father O’Shea brings black humor to a serious movie, and he reveals a secret about the list which was a poignant aha moment.
The writing and directing team of Tom Berkeley and Ross White have brought the story to life. They pack a lot into 23 minutes.
An Irish Goodbye is worthy of the accolades, wins, and nominations it has received thus far. An incredible film of an estranged family and the bonds of brotherhood which can reach in and pull you back even seemingly against the odds. Best wishes to An Irish Goodbye at the BAFTA Awards and Academy Awards.
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