Movie review: The Quiet Girl

feeling invisible

My wife and I saw the film The Quiet Girl at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany in early April.

The first time we see the title character Cáit (Catherine Clinch), she’s hiding in the high grass around her home in rural Ireland, c. 1981. She is neglected and feels invisible in her dysfunctional family, and her mother is pregnant with yet another child.

So she’s shipped off to stay with a somewhat older couple distantly related to the family. At first, she is reserved with the pair, but eventually, she comes to appreciate their care.

Her foster father tells someone about Cáit: “Many’s the person missed the opportunity to say nothing and lost much because of it.”

Yet even though the foster mom said there were no secrets, there was one.

This is a relatively simple story told exceedingly well. The Quiet Girl was nominated for several awards, including Best International Feature Film, representing Ireland, at the 2023 Academy Awards. It was deemed Best Foreign Film at the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards.

From the Berlin International Film Festival: “As many films in this year’s Generation Kplus competition, the winning film deals with the hardships of family life. It is a film with a delicate story full of details about childhood, grief, parenthood, and rebuilding a family. The very strong narrative is combined with a stunning cinematography. The sound and the images create a unique atmosphere.”


One oddity at the weekday matinee we attended with about a dozen others. A couple sitting left after about five minutes. Was it because the film had subtitles? I don’t know. Sometimes, I could understand the dialogue, and sometimes I had to read it, but it was not an overly talky film, so I found their departure curious.

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