The Quiet Girl by Colm Bairéad [9/10]

Irish author Claire Keegan is famed for her short stories, one of which, Foster, now lives on in filmic form. “The Quiet Girl” is the adaptation by Irish director/writer Colm Bairéad, and he has achieved a restrained miracle, the simplest of tales possessing enormous emotional depth. Living in a rural area of 1980s Ireland, in which Irish is still spoken, ten-year-old Cáit, a girl of few words and muted watchfulness, is sent away by her brutish father and overwhelmed mother. She lobs in with her aunt and uncle, who slowly unfurl the type of love the girl has never known, until secrets intrude. Catherine Clinch is superb in this role and none of the actors is less than excellent. Artfully shot but with no sense of artifice, the film never hurries, but nonetheless a sense of menace hangs over all the characters, yet the film’s eventual message, as it were, is simple and heartbreaking. A quiet gem, The Quiet Girl is one of 2022’s standout movies.

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