A SHINE OF RAINBOWS
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Based on the best-selling book by Lillian Beckwith, “A Shine of Rainbows” tells the story of a young Irish boy named Tomás, who is adopted by a loving mother in the 1920s. When she brings him back to live on her beautiful Irish isle, Tomás soon finds it a struggle to warm up to his new father. When tragedy strikes the family, Tomás and his new father must find a way to reconcile.
WHAT I LIKED
I’m not wild about the Fox Faith line of films, I’ll admit. Not that I have a problem with Fox or with faith, but these films tend to be notoriously cheesy and amount to little more than a made-for-TV movie loaded with unnecessary drama.
However, I was pleasantly surprised with “A Shine of Rainbows.” It’s not heavy handed like so many other films like it I’ve seen. In fact, it’s surprisingly uplifting, and it uses some tense drama to do this. The story is sweet and tender, and it’s modestly self-contained. Sure, it deals with some heavy topics and subjects, but it doesn’t beat the viewer over the head with it.
A lot of this is because of the cast, which is quite good in their roles. Connie Nielsen is beautiful, tender and strong in her role as the mother. Aidan Quinn, who tends to crop up in these Irish-centric films regardless of budget, carries the rest of the movie as the reluctant father. Quinn is a strong actor in his own right, but he pulls back on the role, not being too overbearing… just a bit distant. All of this is balanced by John Bell as Tomás, who gives a lot of the energy to the script. The kid has acting chops, and he comes by the emotion of the film honestly.
The DVD sent to me came with a package of tissues branded with “A Shine of Rainbow” marketing, so I was expecting a tear jerker. I didn’t use them, but these might not be a bad thing to have handy for people who like these kinds of films.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I really didn’t have many problems with the film, actually. It’s not perfect, and there are some effects and pacing issues, with the effect problems coming from the symbolic baby seal Tomás finds in the sea. However, this film rises above the made-for-TV feel of so many other titles in this line.
There’s only once special feature, which is “So Many Colours: The Making of A Shine of Rainbows,” but it’s a decent, in-depth look at the film’s production from the ground level. It’s actually a refreshing angle on the behind-the-scenes documentary, compared to the self-love you see on so many DVDs nowadays.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like a good tear-jerker.