The Eclipse

The Eclipse

(2009)

Irish drama about Michael (Ciarán Hinds, There Will Be Blood), a teacher raising his two kids alone since his wife died two years earlier.... More

Lately, Michael has been seeing and hearing strange things at night - not sure if they are nightmares or evidence of a haunting. The seaside town where he lives is hosting an international literary festival, and he is assigned the attractive Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), an author of books about ghosts and the supernatural, to look after.

The pair bond and Michael finds someone willing to accept what has been happening to him. However, Lena's attention is pulled elsewhere – she has come to the festival at the bidding of world-renowned novelist Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn), with whom she has had an affair with. As the festival progresses, the trajectories of these three people draw them into a life-altering collision, embellished by the supernatural.Hide

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Flicks Review

This understated drama/thriller doesn't pull out any new tricks but nonetheless offers a rewarding viewing experience, enhanced by a wonderful sense of place and three strong leading performances.

Granite-faced Irish actor Ciarán Hinds has shown up in plenty of blockbusters as a stern hard-arse but gets to essay a much more sensitive character here, playing Michael Farr, a widower with two kids, still struggling to get over the death of his wife. As Farr begins to have ghostly visions that may or may not all be in his head, Hinds keeps the story grounded firmly in reality with his subtly strong presence.

Director Conor McPherson's confidently quiet style also assists in putting the viewer at ease, only to yank the carpet out with old-school horror jolts. It's clear McPherson is a fan of Carrie's notoriously terrifying final scene.

But this is a character-focused drama, and an enjoyably rich one at that. Danish actor Iben Hjejle (who you may recall as the object of John Cusack's affection in High Fidelity) does good work as a visiting novelist whom Farr becomes close with. Their unlikely chemistry is palpable. Former leading man Aidan Quinn manages to mine some pathos out of his otherwise clichéd character; an arrogant, drunken novelist.

The seaside Irish town setting of the film is used to great effect, as is the literary festival where much of the action takes place; there's something inherently cinematic about the world of books and writers.

The Eclipse is a solid and occasionally genuinely freaky little effort.


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The Press Reviews

76% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • A moody little number, The Eclipse makes good on its name by sometimes obscuring its themes and even point, which can have its charms though also severe drawbacks. Full Review

  • A film of such seductive grace, humor and startling side trips into buttocks-clenching ghastliness that auds won't know what to make of it (although it won't keep them from wanting to visit Ireland immediately). Full Review