Colm Bairéad’s eerie and affectionate “The Quiet Girl” sneaks up on you with a slow deliberate pace but its final moments hit you in the heart.
Cait (Catherine Clinch) is a nine-year-old girl with an angry and uncaring father (Michael Patric). The mother (Kate Nic Chonaonaigh) is both self-centered and distant.
The parents are frustrated by Cait’s lack of verbal expression and agree to send her to a foster family of two cow owners Eibhlín Kinsella (Carrie Crowley) and Sean (Andrew Bennett).
Eibhlín is open to Cait immediately and the two cook together. Sean is at a loss about how to approach her, as she is clearly a witness to some kind of trauma or has endured neglect. The girl cuts onions with Eibhlín and does house chores. Conversation for Cait is minimal but Eibhlín is determined to unlock Cait into somewhat of a social being.
When Cait is finished with the work, she often stares off into the sky, or picks a place for her eyes to go.
Talking to Sean, Cait develops an enthusiasm for running while getting the daily mail. Eibhlín and Sean are thrilled.
Cait has an arresting far away and sometimes quizzical expression as if she is in tune with the musical or spiritual realms. Sometimes it seems as if the ghosts are ready to communicate with her. The camera drifts about recording the day-to-day life of the family farm. The outside world figures prominently either in bright sun or cloudy rain-heavy forests.
One does get the feeling that Cait is being watched over by unseen forces and spirits.
Everyday events or objects appear to have their own energy and the power for Cait to either startle or delight. Cait develops a rapport with Sean and begins to smile.
A few town residents tease her about her wardrobe, but she deflects interest well.
After an extended time with Cait’s foster parents, Cait is driven home.
The last moments of the film pack a punch and the slow deliberate pace make the end all the more emotive and tear-inducing.
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