It's always a rare treat when you get to feast your eyes on a film few have seen but more should, as is the case with "Rory O'Shea was Here" ("Inside I'm Dancing"). About two cripples and their lovely assistant, "Rory" is a seemingly simple yet ultimately complex romantic-comedy-drama that has everything from laughs to tragedy - and very few flaws.
James McAvoy and Steven Robertson star as the film's two heroes, two cripples suffering from different problems but who both share an upward battle, especially when they free themselves of the confines of state help. Michael (Robertson), a victim of cerebral palsy, is all but disconnected until he meets Rory, a rebellious young man who can only move part of his right hand, who can surprisingly understand every slurred word he says. The two finally convince the board to allow them to live on their own and they move into an apartment for the first time in their lives, only to find that the real world is more difficult than they ever imagined. So, what do they do? They hire a beautiful blonde (Romola Garai, of "Havana Nights") to help them out. And that's the plot. Sure, it sounds simple, but thanks to good acting, good direction and well-written characters, "Rory" transcends to the next level. It isn't magic, but it's quality filmmaking that deserves better recognition than it will ever receive.
Now on DVD, "Rory O'Shea was Here" has some funny moments and some tragic moments, but most importantly is the chemistry between the two leads, both of whom are playing characters completely beyond their element. The little exchanges the two give one another are great, and not for a second did I question the validity of their disability. Afterwards, I had to check to make sure they were indeed actors and not real disabled people. Of course, disabled people can be actors, too, but you know what I mean.
The movie is a touching tale of friendship and rising beyond expectations, and it works at all levels. There are a few parts near the end that lag a little bit, but overall the movie is convincing, fun and ultimately sad.
The DVD, while not brimming with features, does contain a few good deleted scenes including an alternate ending that is, in fact, an alternate ending, not just the original ending with ten extra seconds added for the sake of having a DVD feature.
"Rory O'Shea was Here" is a nice little treat. It's a shame most people will never see it, but if you're at the video store this weekend you may want to check it out. You won't be disappointed.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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