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The Nephew (1988)

Review: written Jul 2009

Manages to be sweet without being twee

The Nephew (1988)

Maybe this caught me in the right mood or something, but I could not help but be charmed by this gentle Irish melodrama. The story is set in a tourist-board-pretty Irish cove. Into this small community a young coloured American boy comes `home'.. his mother left Ireland before he was born. Now she has passed away and he comes to stay with his uncle. All is not well however, as his return brings to the surface buried past stories and tensions mount, and his blossoming romance with Aislan, the young red-haired beauty of the island, makes confrontation unavoidable.

It is fairly lightweight, but never frivolous in tone. Brosnan's role is not central - indeed it is Hill Harper as the young American who impresses, staying somehow remarkably gentle and neutral while never being a pushover, and Aislan McGuckin certainly makes his falling in love perfectly believable. It's this romance being as believable as it is, with such unforced chemistry, that helps the films succeed at its core, helping to offset the somewhat less credible backstory that unravels as the film progresses. On the fringes, what makes it more memorable are the throwaway moments we see in the background. Two nun's fly fishing, the postman cycling his rounds, the awkwardness of the attempts to bring some modern touch to the church service.. these all help give the character needed to avoid becoming a tourist fluff piece. And it succeeds for the most part.

Combine this gentle melodrama with the achingly beautiful Irish scenery, and an eclectic soundtrack with everything from Thin Lizzy to Elton John, via several Irish ballads, and this gets a thumbs up from me for a quiet night in.

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