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You’re Ugly Too – Movie Review

You're Ugly Too

You’re Ugly Too – Movie Review by C.K. MacNamara

Director: Mark Noonan

Starring: Aidan Gillen, Lauren Kinsella, George Pistereanu, Erika Sainte.

Upon watching You’re Ugly Too one might commend the expert craftsmanship and delicate subtlety on display and wait for the name of an old warhorse indie Director to roll onto the credits screen. But wait – this is the debut of Director Mark Noonan – so they might promptly pick their jaw off the ground and write a gushing review!

A slow-burn story with no extravagant set pieces and just enough background to establish a premise, the plot is driven entirely by the back-and-forth of the characters as they rebound off each other in the confinement of a tiny caravan reminiscent of Father Ted.

Ex-convict Will Hogan (Aidan Gillen) struggles in the weeks after his release to maintain his probation and care for his niece Stacy, in the wake of her own traumas that are hinted at throughout the plot.

The careful use of ‘show don’t tell’ compounds the characters obvious problems with ominous signs of what might be going on behind the scenes. Stacy often stares blindly at nothing with the high pitched whine of shellshock ringing in the background, and Will is a lonely recluse; a pressure cooker trying to be a parent.

Aidan Gillen gives a top class portrayal of the deeply flawed Will. His fear of re-incarceration and self-destructive relapses highlight the feeling of living under the looming doom of the probation officer and fatalistic sense that all this is temporary. As a result he is, despite great effort to the contrary, emotionally unaware and distant from those around him. Even the mandatory ‘I love you’ scene between him and Stacy can only be conducted with beer in hand.

Despite its stellar character writing, the film has a tendency to hamstring its own subtlety with overkill, building up a character arc with hints and implication before having them flatly explain themselves to the camera; Stacy’s fondness of the skateboard her mother gave her as well as the probing questions about her she occasionally risks is enough, we don’t need her to explain in detail 10 minutes later how, who would have guessed it, she misses her dead mother.

Overall, an exquisitely crafted showcase for Noonan’s debut, utilizing a small cast around an expert actor who can hold it all together. Without frills or gimmicks, the low-key characters leave a lasting impression on the viewer that extends well beyond the films ending – a gold standard for any debut.


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