(2,196)6.81 h 43 min2010X-RayPG-13
A fisherman (Colin Farrell) hauls in an unexpected catch when a beautiful and mysterious woman gets tangled in his nets, in this charming and thrilling romance about fairy tales colliding with real life.
Neil Jordan
Colin FarrellTony CurranStephen Rea
Science FictionSuspenseDramaRomance
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Alicja BachledaTom ArchdeaconDervla KirwanDon WycherleyEmil HostinaNorma SheahanAlison Barry
Neil JordanMichael MaherBen BrowningPeter RawlinsonJames Flynn
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.3 out of 5 stars

2196 global ratings

  1. 61% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 11% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

JangleReviewed in the United States on December 12, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Annie's books
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At the heart of this film is Annie, a wheelchair-bound but optimistic Irish girl who’s in need of a new kidney. Her fisherman father Syracuse and her books have imparted to her a penchant for stories, which has become her way of coping. She quotes Alice in Wonderland: “curiouser and curiouser,” and refers to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She uses the phrase “and a very good time it was,” from the first sentence of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Irish novelist James Joyce, though it’s possible Syracuse might regularly say that when beginning the “once upon a time” stories he tells her. He also says: “Yes, it was a good time, and it was a bad time,” echoing Dickens’s opening about the best and worst of times in A Tale of Two Cities.

So, when Syracuse discovers in his fishing net a woman who calls herself Ondine (a water spirit), Annie weaves a fairy tale about this mysterious creature, calling her a “selkie” (a seal that becomes human on land), and getting books on selkies from the library so she can be more knowledgeable. It’s clear that her wide reading has built up her vocabulary. When they shop for clothes for Ondine, she refers to their town as “sartorially challenged.” Although there is a happy ending, reality can’t be denied, and even Annie admits that some things aren’t possible in “the real quotidian world.”
16 people found this helpful
JoyceReviewed in the United States on June 21, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Spoiler Alert??
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I thought Colin Farrell looked beautiful, but yes, he was scruffy. All actors/actresses did a fine job. Yes, the accent was sometimes difficult to understand, esp until you got into the rhythm of it, but may I suggest you consider using English subtitles?

Characters were mostly all likeable, although I did not like the ex wife or her latest boyfriend/husband. Colin Farrell’s character was an alcoholic, but was trying to be a better person and not drink, for his daughter’s sake. His ex and new boyfriend were not even trying, and because of their drunkenness, they got involved in an auto accident with the daughter in the car. Everyone thought Syracuse (Colin F) was such a screw up, but his ex wife and boyfriend were even worse, and no one was giving them grief about it.

The young lady that played ‘Ondine’ was quite believable as to how a selkie might act, if she was removed from her natural element/the ocean. I thought she did very well.

Ok, so here comes the spoiler alert:
I took away one star because I wanted to believe, and think that would have made for a much better ending than the actual ending of this movie, but almost no one ‘believes’ anymore, so I wasn’t that surprised......

If the ending were different, I would have given it 5 stars, but it wasn’t, so 4 stars it is......
8 people found this helpful
qajaqrReviewed in the United States on June 27, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
This had the opportunity...
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...to be outstanding. The opportunity was lost. From the Scottish folklore to the 1930's Ondine, this story has been told and retold by fishermen and writers with not much variance. Until the writers of this disappointment got hold of it. It had the look of the original for a little while, the drabness and mist and simplicity of the Irish coast. The ordinary fisherfolk, the imperfect characters and their weaknesses, until these writers got hold of it. Every cliche is here. Vicious drug runner, almost innocent mule, stolen drugs, Emerald Isle drunks, precocious child thinking ahead of everyone and the polar opposite ending the latest iteration of Ondine could possibly have. Almost hard to believe in that the story was already written for them. By really good writers. All this bunch had to do was update the settings, not rewrite the plot.
This film loses its way, and the possible 5 stars, at about the halfway point. You should stop there, and read the book. Any of them. You'll have a better idea of how things are supposed to end.
And just stop it with the literary and poetic license. Slapping this centuries old myth with a Hollywood playbook (even has a car chase) is like DeCaprio doing Romeo and Juliet, and just because something can be done, does not mean it should be.
8 people found this helpful
carpediem61Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A wonderful romance of a true fairy tale kind
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A wonderful romance of a true fairy tale kind! Colin Farrell is suburb in this film as fisherman in southern Ireland - beautiful scenery. Stephen Rhea is great in a small role as the ironic priest - and the thick accents that are everywhere - use sub-titles you twits! That is what they are there for.
First saw on Netflix - bought after it was removed from the service. One of those great go-to movies after a long day when you just want a little happiness - I watch it over and over every couple of months.
Many other people have written longer reviews - the "Selkie" was part of my childhood fairytales as well.
22 people found this helpful
RobertReviewed in the United States on October 9, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Hidden Gem
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A surprisingly deft blend of compelling drama, myth and romance. It's sweet and sad with a story line that moves adroitly between different worlds (with a terrific performance by the actress playing his daughter) and carries the audience along with a pacing that flows smoothly to a conclusion that, while surprising when it happens, is nevertheless completely in keeping with the rest of the film.

I'm surprised that this film wasn't a bigger commercial success given how much better done it is than the vast majority of movies that get made, but perhaps it lacked the kind of punch or predictability that is needed to appeal to the mass market. Or maybe it was the setting in Ireland and the difficulty people could have with the heavy accents (I always have the subtitles on so it wasn't an issue for me).
20 people found this helpful
MaverickReviewed in the United States on June 27, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautifully told fairy tale
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Colin Farrell does a masterful job of acting in this very interesting story about a fisherman who catches a woman (Alicja Bachleda) in his net at sea. His daughter Annie (Alison Barry) believes her to be a "Selkie", a seal creature that becomes human while on land, and describes how she can grant a wish, and will return to sea if her "husband" comes back for her. The story Annie creates blends perfectly with all that is happening, and it is impossible to determine if this is going to be a true fairy tale, or if there is something more plausible happening.
The story moves slowly, but the imagery and storytelling build well to the climactic ending. Superb performances by the entire cast, and a great work of art here.
2 people found this helpful
Lawrence RobertsReviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
An Excellent movie with a few technical flaws
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Although the 3 stars and below are only 19%, I am even surprised at that amount of negativity about this quite wonderful movie. I do agree with some of the technical issues, and that is why it is not the 5 stars that the story and the acting deserved. Agree the sound quality was poor and the night scenes were almost totally lost in darkness. I thought they could have gotten much more beauty out of the Irish coastline than they did, and they really did not capture the small-town and cultural character of this Irish fishing village. Watch A Minute of Silence and see how incredibly well they captured the small German fishing village. One common complaint is bogus – that people couldn’t understand the thick Irish brogue – well turn on the subtitles folks! And that it did not end like a Selkie fairy tale – well that is because it wasn’t except in the very vivid imagination of the incredible little girl Annie. They made it very clear at the end that she was a very real person, a drug mule from Romania, which is why she didn’t want to be seen. And, since it was not a Selkie fairy tale, it did not have to end like one. Yes, there were some things a little “fairy tale like”. For example, she drops the drugs out at sea, but somehow it winds up in the cove near the house Syracuse put Ondine in. Also, the kidney match with her mother’s dead boyfriend, and Annie’s seemingly quick recovery from a transplant. But, none of this was any more unbelievable than Hollywood’s blockbuster action movies. It’s a movie after all. I thought the two leads did a marvelous job of creating their characters. Syracuse was a mistake prone loser, and he acted like it most of the time. Ondine was secretive and evasive, but she demonstrated the Selkie qualities of kindness, generosity, and loyalty. She saw more in Syracuse than he could see in himself, and she loved him. Alison Berry’s Annie was simply adorable, and another reason that Ondine could not leave. I thought it was a very creative plot, the lead characters very easily draw out our empathy and hold our attention. Watch it. It’s a great movie. Hope I did not spoil it.
TomKReviewed in the United States on October 31, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
This movie is worth your time to see
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Ondine is wonderful Irish tale full of magic and fantasy. The 1994 movie "The Secret of Roan Inish" comes to mind. Another Irish tale of the sea in a magical/fantasy genre. The acting was superb. The character of Annie (Alison Barry and her acting) was heart warming. I even learned the difference between mermaids and selkies from her. It has a 6.8 rating (average) on IMDB out of 17,000 votes. This movie is better than average. It deserves to be in the top 25% (7.4 or better) and my vote is going to help.
17 people found this helpful
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