An Irish family adventure written by Jim Sheridan, this starts off as fairly gritty stuff (not surprisingly, as Sheridan is better known for grim fare like My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father) and ends up as an utterly enchanting fable.
Two young brothers, Ossie and Tito, live in grim Dublin slums with their dad, Papa Reilly (Byrne). He was once a traveller (gypsy), but following the death of his wife he has decided to stay in the same place and drown his sorrows. The kids, meanwhile, are shown a beautiful white horse by their grandpa, and when the police take it away, they decide to steal back the creature – which they believe is magical and born of the sea.
Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), this is a lyrical tale that never gets bogged down in sentimentality, as the boys come to terms with their mother’s death. Byrne is terrific as the boys’ dad, and Ellen Barkin (Byrne’s wife at the time) gives a good performance as the gypsy who helps him on his quest to track down his on-the-run kids. Just lovely.
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