December 12, 2010 -- During a literary festival in Ireland, a teacher, Michael Farr (played by Ciarán Hinds of “The Race to Witch Mountain”), begins seeing ghosts. It happens that one of the visiting authors at the literary conference, Lena Morrell (Iben Hjejle of “Defiance”) writes about ghosts. One of Farr's jobs is to drive Lena around town (Cobh in County Cork) and give her a tour of the place. He decides to broach the subject of the ghost he saw, even though the ghost is that of a living person, his elderly father in law, Malachy (Jim Norton).
Michael begins seeing the ghost more often, even once while driving. It is a mean, scary ghost that seems to be intent on dooming him, but he also sees another ghost, that of his dead wife, who comforts him. As they spend more time together, Michael and Lena become friendly and a romance starts to bloom. However, another man comes along to interfere, the detestable author Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn of “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius”). Nicholas and Lena once had a fling and he wants her back. She's not interested, but he persists. Eventually this romantic triangle ends in a fist fight.
Michael is a plain man, a solid survivor, but it turns out he also has a kind of literary past himself. Lena, Michael and Nicholas go their separate ways. The story ends on a kind of hopeful note for Michael, with a possibility of his own literary future, maybe a romance, and maybe even an end to ghostly visits. The story is thin, but it has a kind of easy Irish charm. The romance between Michael and Lena works very nicely, the rest of the plot, not so much. There is some very nice scenery in and around Cobh. Some scenes are shot on an ocean ferry. There is no hint of the economic troubles currently plaguing Ireland. Even though Michael is supposed to be a teacher, there is no hint of him actually working at that job in the film. He spends most of his time driving Lena and Nicholas around, visiting Malachy and running other errands.
The character named Malachy has an interesting name. There is a Catholic saint Malachy who is said to have long ago predicted the succession of 111 (or 112) popes to the very last one, which by some accounts is the current one, Pope Benedict XVI. The appearance of Malachy's ghost is also a prophetic sign in the film. Interestingly, Saint Malachy was also the father confessor of Cormac MacCarthy, Prince of Desmond (who would later become the King of Ireland). The Medieval king, Cormac MacCarthy is not to be confused with Cormac McCarthy, an American novelist, several of whose books have been made into movies, including “No Country for Old Men.” This film rates a C+.
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