"You don't have to say anything.
Many is the person who has missed the opportunity to say nothing."
The gentle giant of a man, who says this to quiet Cait toward the end of The Quiet Girl, speaks almost as little as she does as the story unfolds. But he communicates in so many other ways. When he quietly places a cookie on the table next to her after barely speaking to her since she arrived. When he looks at her, or encourages her to run as fast as she can.
There is collective grief throughout this film that will break your heart and at the same time give you hope about our most precious commodity; our resilience. I've never used the word resilience as an attribute in a film in all these years I've been a reviewer. And, we are the worse for it. It's such a wonderful emotion to call upon when you need it. We all have it. Deep inside us when we want to call it to the surface rather than wallow in self-pity or sadness. I allow sadness in my life from the few minutes before the sun reaches the horizon, until darkness falls. It's my favorite time of day to be still and to think about what a lucky girl I am. Stillness and resilience is all you need to watch for as the stunning countryside unfolds and the decent, caring, and damaged souls find hope and love with each other in this extraordinary film.
My last review was for Women Talking, where I harped on the fact that you have to wait for the film to play out, perhaps longer than you are used to waiting for plot development. And, then I go to The Quiet Girl, and I can't help but smile because if I didn't learn the lesson in Women Talking, I certainly learned it in The Quiet Girl. Sit back. Take in the scenery and the subtle movement and quiet murmuring of a small, but oh so talented cast that will show you the sights you surely would have missed if they played it out any faster.
The film is based on an award-winning short story from 2015 by Claire Keegan, who (note to self) should be checked out to see what else we can read of hers, because she is clearly a sister of Frank McCourt, by another mother. Sad story. Told without shame or pity, but simply with honest recollection of how it was, or would have been.
But it is the direction that should be called to center stage. And, the cinematography. Colm Bairead directed, and is known for some Irish films including Idir Dha Struth (from Frank O'Connor) and the cinematography is from Kate McCullough, who you will remember from Normal People. And, her approach to The Quiet Girl mirrors her earlier work. In fact, Daisy Edgar-Jones, from Normal People, could be a younger version of Catherine Clinch, who debuts as Cait, and will surely have a fine future in film if she wants it.
I send you to this film sure that while you might not walk out of the theater with a bounce in your step, you will have a lot of thoughts about speaking less and watching more because, like me, you will not want to be one of the people who 'missed an opportunity to say nothing.'