Neil Jordan‘s Ondine is a whimsical film that veers off to a dark side before coming back to a peaceful resolution. Colin Farrell plays a fisherman who one day pulls up a woman in his net. She’s shy and reticent and hides from others. Farrell’s character is a recovering alcoholic, divorced from his wife. Their child together lives with his ex, but spends time with her dad as well. Annie (Alison Barry) has a kidney disease and gets around in a wheel chair. She’s precocious and whip smart, and soon discovers her father’s secret friend, Ondine, whom he had pulled from the sea.
They come to believe (based on Annie’s research), that Ondine is a selkie – a sort of mermaid like creature that out of the water appears human. Seems to me I recall that this aspect of the film was played up in the promotions. Really though, Ondine is none of these things, but a woman who had fallen in with the wrong crowd.
It takes awhile to tune your ear to the lilting Irish dialogue (especially Farrell’s), but once you get used to it, no subtitles are required. This is light – and sweet – entertainment, with little depth. The lack of depth should not interfere with a little escapism.