I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film do so much with so little dialogue and action. The Quiet Girl is a very quiet film. It’s a simple premise: a girl goes to spend the summer with relatives on their farm.
It’s an Irish film and a lot of Gaelic is spoken which is intriguing. My grandfather spoke Gaelic although the only word I remember is eejit. Which ain’t good. The film is set in 1981, but it seems ancient.
The smallest of gestures are profound—such as leaving a cookie on a table. Yet underneath every scene are grief, sadness, hope, dreams, love and friendship.
The young girl who stars, Catherine Clinch, is wonderful in her role of a 9 year girl who is invisible in her own family and at school. How she slowly emerges from her shell with her relatives, the older couple who nurse their own deep wound is the arc of the story. Perhaps because my wife and I have the same wound this story particularly affected. The thing about loving someone is you take the risk of the pain of losing them.
The cinematography itself is worth the view. Long shots, close-ups, a long tree lined driveway, water at night, all of it is beautiful.
While some may view the ending as ambiguous, it is crystal clear for me that all three characters show in their actions how they have changed and are able to become complete human beings.
It is a small story that packs a knockout punch. Highly recommended.