Call this an Irish family reunion, onscreen and off. The brothers Quinn--debuting writer-director Paul, actor Aidan, and cinematographer extraordinaire Declan--pooled their talents on a movie about a middle-aged schoolt... more »eacher (James Caan) who makes a pilgrimage back to the Ould Sod, where he hopes to discover the truth about his mysterious dad. What he digs up, in flashback, is a Romeo-Juliet love affair blighted by class, religion, and sheer human meanness. Turns out Caan's father (Aidan Quinn, bulked up out of his usual lean good looks) was a farmhand--slow, inarticulate, pure of heart--who fell in love above his station. Vividly beautiful Moya Farrelly plays a nonconforming college girl on vacation, first amusing herself by drawing Quinn's locked-down soul into chats, dancing, and friendship, then coming to love the complex man she has freed from loneliness. But Irish angst must be served: Moya's unloving, jealous mother (Gina Moxley) and a sex-hating clergyman (Stephen Rea, wonderfully over the top) set their sights on killing the couple's happiness. In contrast to this old drama, the present-day framing story is distracting, even irritating, and cameo appearances by Colm Meaney, Brendan Gleeson, and John Cusack stick out like... well, charming guest shots. We want Paul Quinn to stay focused on the Thomas Hardy tragedy that beats at the heart of This Is My Father so that we can have more time to savor the strong, heartbreaking performances by Farrelly and his brother, backed by Declan (Leaving Las Vegas) Quinn's beautiful vision of the rich, dark world of Ireland past. --Kathleen Murphy« less
"This is a wonderful film. I rarely cry at movies, but this one had me weeping copiously at the end. The acting was first-rate; Aidan Quinn turns in one of his best performances ever as the poor, quiet Kieran. James Caan was subtle and sympathetic as a lonely schoolteacher searching for the story of his father. This film was romantic without being schmaltzy, and ultimately tragic and heartbreaking--no typical Hollywood happy ending here. The movie's portrayal of provincial Irish society in the late 30s was starkly accurate, as was its indictment of the Catholic Church. All in all, a great film that has been sadly underappreciated."
Compelling, Moving, Beautiful, and Unforgettable!!!
Chicago Dreamer | Chicago, IL United States | 10/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an unforgettable film which deserves a huge audience. It moves back and forth through past and present, weaving both together through a family and its history, and a lonely, burned out teacher's exploration of his roots. Each view and each perspective in this family -- past and present -- is sensitively explored. The most compelling, however, is the grandmother's love story with Kieran (Aidan Quinn) in County Galway in Ireland. This film explores Irish life and the Irish perspective, and the blessings and curses of each. The cast is superb, and Aidan Quinn gives a wonderfully moving performance as Kieran, the Father. There are other Fathers in this film. Exploring these and musing about their meanings and their meddlings, past and present, is something best done by each individual viewer. Beautifully photographed, superbly acted, and wonderfully conceived, this is a must-see film for everyone, but especially for anyone with an interest in Ireland. This wonderful country and its history, its people, its music, its curses, its blessings, and its magic are all captured in loving detail onscreen. Highly, Highly recommended!!!"
John P. Meyer | DANVILLE, IL USA | 07/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Why don't we ever hear about great films like this one. It has a wonderful story with a tearful conclusion. It is worth seeing, if only for the glimpse of Irish culture in 1939 and surely accurate depiction of the Catholic Church of that time. One gets the notion that in the Irish countryside of today, the Church probably still operates as it does in this film.Aidan Quinn, who went out of his way to make this film, is terrific in his part as Kieran O'Day. He gained weight for the film and it is far from a glitzy role. Actually, all the acting is top notch and the characters are all believeable. Having grown up in a Catholic Church that is very close to what is portrayed in the film, made it even more interesting for me.It's not a flashy film, but one of the best of this century."
A Genuine Masterpiece!
Sharon Y. Towner | Little Rock, AR USA | 01/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most powerful love stories to come along in decades, "This Is My Father" takes the spectator on a journey to 1939 rural Ireland. Opening in modern day Chicago where James Caan portrays an unhappy highschool teacher, he discovers a 60 year old photograph of an unknown man standing next to his mother. Never knowing who his father was, Caan goes back to his mother's homeland in hopes of unraveling the mystery behind the photo. In meeting a fortune teller who had known his mother during her youth, the story takes shape as Caan (and the spectator) is taken back in time through the old woman's memories. Aidan Quinn who portrays Kieran O'Day, the unknown figure in the haunting photograph, gives a performance that will melt your heart! It is rare these days to find a film, especially a love story, without nudity and excessive profanity. This is one of them. The impact of the story and the extraordinary talent of the cast is so powerful that the viewer will want to see it again and again. Based on a true event and 10 years in the writing to perfect it by Paul Quinn (brother of Aidan), this is a masterpiece that will remain in the heart for years to come."
The BEST Movie EVER
Sharon Y. Towner | 12/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""This is my Father" is one of the most romantic and touching movies that I have ever seen. It is beautifully acted by Aidan Quinn, undoubtedly, one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood and Moya Farrelly, a newcomer. I was born in Ireland, Galway to be exact so I may be a little biased, but this movie brought me to tears. I felt as though I was watching two people whom I had known for years struggling to be together. Aidan Quinn's performance as an Irish 'Forrest Gump' was fantastic. He fulfilled the characteristics of a man that every woman, at least I and 'Fiona' dream of falling in love with. I also loved the portrayal of the Catholic way of thinking, which in the 1930's was the only way of thinking. This was without a doubt, the best movie of the century. Go and watch it!"