Before we begin, it’s not THAT Eclipse. There are no shape shifters or vampires in this movie. This Eclipse is a spooky tale about love and loss in a picturesque coastal Irish town. Yes, I know it still sounds like that other Eclipse. After earning praise at some film festivals last year Conor McPherson’s film is getting a limited release in the US and opens on Friday March 26th.
Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds) has been seeing things. Two years after losing his wife to illness there is a disturbing presence in his house that he’s not sure is a ghost or just his imagination. While volunteering for an annual literary festival that’s held in his seaside community, he meets Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), an author of supernatural books and turns to her for advice. Lena has to deal with an unwelcome presence of her own, a former flame and fellow writer Nicholas Holden, being honored at the festival (Aidan Quinn) who is eager to continue their relationship. The real and the unreal collide in Michael’s life and it might be what he needs to let go of his grief and move on.
Eclipse is a great grown-up ghost story. It had quite a few instances when I jumped in my seat. Couple that with an engaging love-triangle and you’ve got a layered and interesting film. The heart of the story is Michael, played so well by Ciarán Hinds. It’s a well-rounded and developed character to portray as well: sympathetic, charming and funny. And it’s no surprise really that Hinds turns in a wonderful performance. A delicious contrast is Aidan Quinn’s Nicholas Holden. Holden is entitled and obnoxious and from all accounts, not a very good writer. Quinn makes him almost impossible to like but with glimpses of humanity as he interacts with Lena. The woman between these two suitors is Lena, played by the Danish actress Iben Hjejle. It’s not hard to see Lena’s appeal to our two males. She’s beautiful and approachable, smart and compassionate; a job handily done by Hjejle.
Much like New York City is the 5th cast member in Sex and the City, the town of Cobh in County Cork, Ireland is also a vital part of The Eclipse. The gothic cathedral and ancient graveyards are integral to setting the disturbing mood for the film. So if you’re looking for a good old-fashioned creepy romp through the Irish countryside, The Eclipse is the movie for you. Bring someone along to hold on to for the really scary bits.