Ondine-An Ode to Fables

The first time I saw this movie was probably when it was released in 2010 and bits and pieces lodged themselves in my mind. I recently watched this again out of random curiosity and I was actually quite impressed. The film is classified as “drama, mystery, romance”, but I would add Indie and Foreign tags as well.

The movie centers on the mysterious appearance of a woman on the Irish coast. She calls herself Ondine, and her arrival changes the lives of Syracuse and his daughter in unexpected ways. Of course her identity is “the third act twist”, and it actually might surprise a few unsuspecting viewers.

The main thing to remember with this movie is that it is a fairy tale above all. I would classify it as magical realism, even though no one has actual powers. Every character is playing by the rules of a scripted fairy tale, but it’s unclear who believes in the story and who is going through the motions. There are many mature aspects to the story, but they all retain a “bad guy” sense. By that I mean even the situations, the non-physical enemies, simply feel like obstacles that will easily be overcome.

For anyone doubting Farrell and Bachelda’s chemistry, they did have an actual son together as a result of this movie, so they clearly connected.

The standout actress of this movie, and the only one besides the two leads who matters, is Alison Barry who plays Syracuse’s daughter Annie. This precocious 10-year old child has kidney failure for a majority of the movie, but it isn’t meant to be a tragedy or elicit pity. It’s just an obstacle to overcome. Annie is eventually given a new kidney, through a series of unfortunate events. Throughout the movie she maintains her curiosity, her sharp wit, and her infallible optimism and idealism.

Overall it’s a sweet story that celebrates the power of fairy tales and destiny and love. Recommended for fans of romance movies and Ireland, but not for teens under 15.

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