Coming to theatres this week from director Klaus Härö and Music Box Films is the story of raw emotion one more time with MY SAILOR, MY LOVE.
Howard (James Cosmo) is a retired sailor who is set in his ways. His daughter Grace (Catherine Walker) has been taking care of him as much as possible while trying to hold down a job and deal with her own marriage to Martin (Aidan O’Hare). Deciding to make a change, Grace hires Annie (Brid Brennan) as a housekeeper for Howard.
He is not at all pleased at being managed and within days manages to insult Annie and tries to make amends. Howard discovers that having Annie around has awaken him a bit. Spending time with Annie’s family and friends, Grace becomes angry herself and wants to put Annie in her place reminding that she is a housekeeper.
Seeing her father begin to enjoy being around people with laughter and a cheerful she hasn’t been privy to for ages, Grace wants to make it clear to Annie who she is dealing with. Howard and Annie have become more than just friends and its sets Grace on edge. So, when her father becomes ill, Grace uses that as a weapon to keep the two lovers apart. It becomes clear who the real problem is in all of it.
Walker as Grace is a woman with so many issues, they wouldn’t all fit on a magazine rack. Childhood trauma, feelings of jealousy, stressed out and stretched thin, a bit of martyrdom and a whole lot of rage are all wrapped up in this character. Walker doles it out in pieces at first but the steam in the kettle is about to blow. I enjoyed Walker’s portrayal but have been a huge fan since her portrayal of Francoise de Maintenon in the 2018 hit series VERSAILLES.
Cosmo as Howard is cantankerous and snappy with a family that either ignores him most of the time or smothers him all of the time. Living off the grid surrounded by green hills and water, he simply wants to be left alone. Cosmo gives us a look inside his life and home and it is a sad one, that is until Annie. His past is behind him and once again he experiences joy and Cosmo gives us that as well. Cheering for Howard became my thing watching the film and it is this actor’s portrayal that did it.
Brennan as Annie is just as lovely as she could possibly be. She wants to take the position of housekeeper to just be out in the world but certainly didn’t expect the likes of Howard. Once she gets past the grouchiness, Brennan’s Annie shows Howard the beauty still left in their elder lives. She is the breath of fresh air that Grace can not understand. Annie falls for Howard in all his faults and again, Grace can not comprehend it. Brennan is such a dear in this role and is exactly where she needs to be by the films end (have tissue).
Other cast includes Nora-Jane Noone as Kelly, Bob Kelly as Brian, Nova Farrelly as Belinda, Molly McCann as Alison, Carol O’Reilly as Suzy, Ciara Fallon as Melanie, Shane McCarthy as Alex, Shane G. Casey as Terry, Tara Flynn as Sarah and Tim Landers as Walter.
Music Box Films is the prestigious North American distributor of acclaimed international, independent, and documentary feature films. Recent releases include Eric Gravel’s Cesar nominated thrilling social drama FULL TIME and Rebecca Zlotowski’s OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN. Music Box Films also owns and operates Music Box Theatre, Chicago’s premier venue for independent and foreign films. For more of what they have to offer please go to www.musicboxfilms.com
MY SAILOR, MY LOVE has been nominated for Best Film, Best Direction and Best Production Design by the Jussi Awards. It has won Best Feature Film by the Cleveland International Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature by the Wisconsin Film Festival, and Audience Choice Award for International Film by the Chicago International Film Festival.
Härö says of his actors, “The cast has been an immense joy, from the moment the roles were confirmed and when we first went on set. I would often sit very close by to the actors and get to witness what goes into their work, which left me very impressed.” I couldn’t agree more in that this cast is so impressive.
This story grabs into almost every absolute human emotion in how we hurt one another and how deep and how long it is carried throughout life. The character of Grace is such a bundle of rawness and it takes an Annie-straw to break the camels back. It is not immediate but it is there and so painful to watch.
Howard has just as many secrets as his daughter Grace and he has chosen to hide it all his own way yet it is not new by any stretch. As much as Howard and Grace are annoyed by one another, it is the reason why they are frustrated that slowly boils to the surface. Annie is the unwitting catalyst to it all coming to a boiling point and for that I felt so sorry. On the flip side, it doesn’t change Annie’s feelings because she is based in love, acceptance and forgiveness – something the other two clearly aren’t familiar with.
Keeping the locations simple allow the viewer to get deep into the story without distraction. That and I’m a huge fan of simplicity when telling this kind of heartfelt story. I want to feel part of it all even thought I’m just a spying fly on the wall of it all. This is the story of love, pain and the trauma of both even if Howard and Grace don’t know it yet.
In the end – it is never too late!