Monday, July 4, 2011

Rory O'Shea Was Here: Movie Review


Through comedy or drama, the characters are always central.

"Rory O'Shea Was Here" is a film about living life the way you want to not the way you have to. Although that's not easy for Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy) who has Muscular Dystrophy, it's especially not easy for Michael (Steven Robertson) who has Cerebral Palsy. It's also not easy for a film to depict that with heartfelt meaning and no melodrama. That is accomplished here by making it a character-driven comedy. 2004

Directed by: Damien O'Donnell

Screenplay by: Jeffrey Caine
Story by: Christian O'Reilly

Starring: James McAvoy and Steven Robertson
James McAvoy is probably best known for his looks and then followed by his dramatic turns in "The Last King of Scotland" (2006) and Atonement (2007), but I first met him in this character-rich comedic role. McAvoy and Robertson both portrayed their disabilities perfectly but that almost seems to be besides the point when they are able to use comedy to make us care about them.

Rory’s the rebel with his blonde, spiked hair and his unrelenting determination to always break the rules. Michael is the speech-impaired, lost soul who only does what the nurses at the home tell him to do—and even then, he’s usually not physically able. From there it’s a comedy of camaraderie when Rory can understand what Michael says and Michael has immediately found his new best friend. Good-natured trouble ensues.

Together, Rory and Michael want to live independently without any rules. The film takes some dramatic turns as they discover that there are always rules—and girls. How comes girls and rules always seem to come hand-in-hand?

The transitions between comedy and drama are barely even noticeable because of the chemistry that McAvoy and Robertson have and their effortless ease in making us care about Rory and Michael so deeply.


Recommended:

The Station Agent (2003) - Characters who are alone find where they belong.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007) - Unconventional characters in a sweet, unconventional relationship film.