My Sailor, My Love opens at a therapy session attended by Grace, (Catherine Walker) who has become the sole carer over time for her curmudgeon like father, Howard, (James Cosmo). Exhausted, exasperated and unappreciated and allowing her own home life to suffer, the catalyst is finally her father’s birthday party where the prodigal family makes a guest appearance and at which she, is largely ignored, Grace places a notice for home help.
Enter Annie, (Bríd Brennan), a kind and thoughtful local woman who, slowly and after an initially difficult reception from Howard, awakens long buried happiness and indeed joy, for both of them.
This love affair however is not without its family complications. Old wounds and hurts are gradually exposed and we eventually, largely due to Annie’s honesty and courage, get to see all sides of the story.
A very convincing and beautifully played story, particularly from the three main characters but also the supporting cast, right down to the little children.
With stunning scenery (a very recognisable Achill Island) and a beautiful score from The Galaxy Symphonic Orchestra, and directed by Klaus Häro, I felt I had discovered a little gem. This film definitely deserves a wider audience.
- DATE: September 30, 2022
- WRITERS: Jimmy Karlsson, Kirsi Vikman
- DIRECTOR: Klaus Härö
- STARRING: James Cosmo, Brid Brennan, Catherine Walker
This film is created by a Finnish team – directed by Klaus Haro, written by Jimmy Karlson and Kersi Vikman. It is set in the West of Ireland with amazing seascapes and desolate stretches of moorland.
James Cosmo [Braveheart, Trainspotting] plays Howard, a retired, widowed, sailor living alone in an old house by the sea. His daughter Grace – Catherine Walker [A Dark Song, Waking the Dead] is concerned that he is not coping, as the house needs a serious amount of cleaning and tidying. Against Howard’s will, she hires a local widow, Annie, as a cleaner/housekeeper played by Brid Brennan [Dancing at Lughnasa, The Jimmy Plays].
Annie’s arrival is a disaster – Howard pays her to leave. He then relents and woos her back – with difficulty – and flowers. She returns…..
They get to like each other – romance blossoms – she moves in with him.
Annie’s little grand-daughters often visit and bring more joy to the house.
Grace, however, is horrified about the relationship. She carries many burdens from her childhood living alone with her clinically depressed mother, when her father was at sea. Her mother drowned – Grace feels Howard blamed her. Now, her marriage, and her job as a nurse, are in a precarious state. She attends group therapy – the sessions do not go well.
The film brings joy and heartbreak, and ends with a deep understanding of the dynamics between the three main characters.
My Sailor, My Love is a heart-warming film that floats along, despite dealing with the complex emotions and psychological baggage of familial hurt, loss, guilt, anger and unexpected love.
Shot on Achill Island, a tightly crafted script, unobtrusive sensitive directing by Finnish director Klaus Härö, and restrained, nuanced acting by the three main role actors, James Cosmo, Bríd Brennan and Catherine Walker, combine to produce a compelling portrayal of a strained father/daughter relationship and the joys, difficulties and compromises of a late life love relationship. Breath-taking shots of Achill seascape and landscape, by cinematographer Robert Nordström, support the seamless unfolding of the narrative.
When Howard (James Cosmo) a stubborn, retired sea captain, living alone, fails to manage domestically, his daughter Grace (Catherine Walker) hires a widowed local woman Annie (Bríd Brennan) as housekeeper.
Initially, Howard arrogantly rejects, Annie’s help, however, Annie’s, sensitive insight and dignified independence nudges a crack in his stubborn armour, they open their hearts to each and love develops.
Howard’s uncommon warmth and affection towards Annie, triggers childhood trauma for Grace. Howard was away for most of her childhood and he continues to withhold parental love. She was a child carer for her clinically depressed mother and Howard was not there when her mother drowned.
The dynamics inherent in the intertwining of these three relationships shines a light on human flaws and emotional vulnerability. The narrative never descends to melancholy. All the characters are individual and wholesome. Life is full of loose ends and sometimes acceptance is the only resolve.