The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) - Drama, Family, Fantasy

Hohum Score



Young Fiona lives with her grandparents in a small fishing village where she takes an active role to unravel the mysterious secrets.

IMDB: 7.5
Director: John Sayles
Stars: Jeni Courtney, Eileen Colgan
Length: 103 Minutes
PG Rating: PG
Reviews: 8 out of 70 found boring (11.42%)

One-line Reviews (36)

The film builds slowly, mesmerisingly towards a cathartic act of mercy, incorporating several nuanced diversions which either bolster the narrative or flesh out its highly evocative portrait of a sea-faring community.

The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and it'll make you want to move home in a hurry.

The only event that had occurred, excluding the painfully boring exposition, was the little girl chasing the naked kid for 40 seconds or so only to lose him in his little boat.

Evocative, somewhat slow - an excellent children's film.

DP Haskell Wexler uses the beauty of the Irish countryside to paint a stunning image of the landscape and sea that makes one wish to return to the old sod.

Nothing Happened!!.

The story might be a tad difficult to follow unless you concentrate, and unless you have an ear for the dialect, I'd suggest leaving the closed captioning on the first time you view it, as the Donegal Irish speech is not an easy one to decipher at first.

Ignoring these issues, the film works fairly well as a children's fantasy, though I suspect most kids and adults will find "Roan Inish" too plain and too slow.

I wanted to leave.

This movie felt very calm and enjoyable to me.

Mostly Dull .

Particularly fascinating is the performance of John Lynch, whose character tells the legend of the Selkie (played by his sister, Susan Lynch).

Its tales of when "man and beast lived side-by-side, sharing the sea", of "monsters shedding their past skins", of a little girl's self determination and slow journey back to her roots, are designed specifically for the Irish diaspora.

The scenery of the coast of Ireland is breathtaking and director John Sayles makes good use of it.

You became immersed in a mythical world which was totally believable.

The images of the seal woman are breathtaking, painful in their uncertain waking beauty.

I highly recommend it to anyone interested in their Irish stock.

Just good entertaining film.


The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, the script well written, the actors all wholly believable.

At the beginning, there's too much exposition from blarney-gushing Oirish characters, the late middle segue sequence goes on a bit too long and the pacing tends to slow up towards the end.

It's creepy, for one thing, there's some material, that isn't suitible at all, and it just had no Plot to it.

What sets this film apart from others is how it is a "family film" without resorting to clichés, but instead, is the kind of movie entertaining to all age groups without talking down to anyone.

This was a surprisingly enjoyable movie in a beautiful location that made me want to go hunting it down (unfortunately, as far as I could tell Roan Inish doesn't exist- in fact the original source book is based in Scotland).

It takes some time for the characters to build - once they do they story is so entertaining.

The scenery is stunning, the girl is luminous and the story told with an air of wonder and mystery.

The actors and actresses give stunning performances and repeatedly throughout the movie I had to remind myself that characters weren't real.

The whole world revealed by director Sayles is enticing and intriguing magic.

I'm a Sayles fan, but this film was terribly dull most of the time - I think I fell asleep while watching it.

The first 1/3 of the film's narrative was difficult to follow, and only in the last 20 minutes or so did the film manage to sustain my interest.

The faces of the people are very evocative as well, with many rugged, homely appearances that feel very honest and comfortable.

Slow paced, beautifully photographed, well acted and directed, this is a unique gem of a movie.

There's definitely something fascinating underlying this film, and the sense of magical realism should be a big selling feature for me.

The Secret of Roan Inish is a unique film which reveals in a slow paced story, the relationship of the Irish people to the sea and land.

The film can be recommended for older children, but keep in mind that the pace is slow and the car chases are kept to an absolute minimum.

This film struck me as borderline unwatchable.