This coming-of-age drama, filmed (mostly) in Gaelic, i.e. the original Irish language, completely triumphed in the selection for the Irish film of the year. In addition to “An Cailin Ciuin” or “The Quiet Girl” being chosen as the best Irish film, feature film debutant Colm Bairead was awarded for best director, while also debutant, young Catherine Clinch was chosen as actress of the year. She is Cait, the quiet, taciturn and withdrawn girl of the film’s title, a neglected and completely neglected nine-year-old from a large, dysfunctional family in rural Ireland.
This film is based on the short story “Foster” by Claire Keegan, and the action of the film is set in rural Ireland in 1981. Cait’s mother is pregnant again, her father is not overly interested in raising children, so during the summer her parents will send her for a few months to live with further relatives, the middle-aged couple Eibhlin and Sean. They have no children and while Eibhlin will immediately accept the little girl by showing her attention, love and warmth on the small country farm, the also rather silent Sean will be quite distant and cold towards the little girl at first.
Nevertheless, the girl who, as soon as she is given a little attention and care, will begin to open up and release herself, will begin to get under his skin, and very soon we will understand that this middle-aged couple is hiding a tragic secret. The film was shot with a lot of style, a wonderful, tender, warm and somehow melancholic drama full of poetics and visually striking. Although there is not much dialogue, they are not really necessary and it was done brilliantly so that everything is clear to us through looks and gestures. This is a film that avoids falling into pathos and moralizing, a quality and touching story in which we see that sometimes a much better parent than the physical and real ones can be some other people who are ready to provide children with warmth, closeness and love.