Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:58 pm 
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Also included in Filmleaf Mostly British Festival Coverage.


Painful choices

In this mini-budget film from Ireland Andy (Shane Murray-Corcoran of King Arthur and Angela's Ashes) drives Maggie (first-timer Iseult Casey) from Tipperary to the airport foe London so she can get an abortion for an unplanned pregnancy that's happened during an on-off romance that has lasted a year or so. In small-town Ireland, an abortion isn't an easy decision, and Andy is against it. The drive bookends a series of flashbacks to their lives and relationship. Both their fathers have trouble making ends meet, especially Andy's, who has had problems with depression and attempted suicide several times, which the family tries to hush up. Andy, who was headed toward a career in art, has left college with a year to go to be close to his dad, and that preoccupation has interrupted the romance with Maggie. The couple seems painfully, touchingly, shy and innocent. Andy hasn't got much game, and for a weekend excursion, would rather check out Galway than Berlin. But they do go to London on one occasion, when the romance is fresh, and vow that they'd like to live there when they are more ready.

A period when they don't see each other is handled ironically, with a relatively hard and sophisticated male friend from Dublin, Brian (Ben Harding) at a pub seen urging Maggie to force the issue and break it off crosscut with And out walking with a friend telling him the opposite, to revive the flame. Both actors, especially Murray-Corcoran, are good at differentiating between their fresh, hopeful earlier moods and the present time, in the car, with Andy at first sullen and silent and Maggie feebly trying to be lighthearted. As time goes on, a late flashback reveals more about the pregnancy and our understanding of what's going on deepens. The ending isn't very satisfying, but then, it's not meant to be. The performances are very authentic. The material has provoked much thought in Ireland - though there is too little about it so far online.

A solid supporting cast includes Ardal O’ Hanlon, Pat Shortt, and TV stars Mary Conroy (Ros na Rún) and Paul Ronan (Love/Hate) making appearances. O’Hanlon and Shortt play the pair's fathers.

Twice Shy, 76 mins., debuted at the Galway Film Festival 8 July 2016, where it was reportedly enthusiastically received. It has played at five Irish festivals and in London and LA. Screened for this review as part of the Mostly British Film Festival, San Francisco, at the Vogue Theater. 5:00PM

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