My Sailor, My Love – Film Review

My Sailor, My Love – Film Review
by Frank L.

Directed by Klaus Härö
Written by – Jimmy Karlsson, Kirsi Vikman
Stars – James Cosmo, Brid Brennan, Catherine Walker

Set in a remote coastal location, Howard (James Cosmo), a retired sea captain and a widower, lives alone in a large, windswept house. He is not domesticated as is clear from his kitchen, where an accumulation of dirty dishes, pots and pans dominate. Grace (Catherine Walker), his daughter and a married woman who lives a distance away tries to keep an eye on him with occasional visits. She realises that he needs some help and sets about employing a housekeeper. Howard is openly hostile to this arrangement but Annie (Brid Brennan) who appears to be a meek sort of mature woman but shows herself to be anything but. Early on they have a clash but it is Howard who has to apologise. An understanding emerges. That understanding grows into something far more substantial as the title of the film indicates. Grace looks askance at what is evolving. She is in a fragile space with a faltering marriage and grievances in relation to her long-deceased mother with whom Grace had to deal with when Howard was away at sea. Her relationship with Howard is dutiful but tetchy. It is against this fraught background that the romance between Howard and Annie blossoms. Grace’s grievances grow as she struggles with her marriage and her father who is increasingly absorbed by Annie and her world.

Cosmo is a fine curmudgeonly Howard who is obstinate and unforgiving with Grace but he becomes a romantic mature, lover once Annie stands up to him and breaks down his selfishness. Brennan gives an astute performance as Annie as she moves from her initial state of apparent pliancy in the presence of Howard but whose professionalism is such that she stands her ground with him. It is he who has to concede. In their burgeoning relationship, she is the powerhouse. This leaves Walker with the challenging part of playing the daughter whose years of caring for her father count for little. Walker brings a great sense of duty to the role for which she feels her father does not give a toss while she struggles to keep her own splintering life on track. Walker creates a sense of being “put- upon” in her portrayal of Grace. There is a great deal to support her sense of grievance with the role Annie comes to play in Howard’s life. The three actors combine together to create a triangle of realistic complexity of love and resentment.

The film was shot in Achill, and the magnificent but unforgiving landscape adds to the story’s drama. Härö is a Finnish director who has already received international acclaim as his film The Fencer (2015) was nominated for the Golden Globes and was shortlisted at the Oscars for the best foreign film. Here is another film of substance.

The story that is told, although set in a remote location, could take place in a bustling city. But the placing of it in a sparsely populated location allows the complexities of the relationships between the three main protagonists to be dominant. The film has a haunting beauty about it which makes it worthy of your attention.

Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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