by Jim Ridley
The family drama A Shine of Rainbows opens this weekend in local theaters. Here's the review from this week's Scene, unavailable elsewhere online:
Set in an Irish locale so picturesque it makes The Quiet Man look like Angela’s Ashes, this disarming family film has the pleasingly old-fashioned virtues of a relaxed pace, non-CGI characters and a big mushy heart. An orphan boy (newcomer John Bell) tormented by bullies gets a new life with the arrival of a radiant visitor, who whisks him away to live with her and her husband. (This Irish beauty is played by Connie Nielsen, the Danish actress whose range is so vast it has impeded her stardom — you can’t recognize her from film to film.) She teaches him to sense the magic in the land’s wonders, from rainbows to a helpless seal pup washed ashore — but when she falls deathly ill, the boy and his gruff new da (Aidan Quinn, exactly the rugged but vulnerable presence the movie demands) need a miracle to come together. The solidly predictable movie’s virtues are modest, and it’s a pity the boy’s seal pup looks like something you’d win at a Kmart parking-lot carnival — but it’ll take a stony heart not to snuffle at that climactic father-son hug. Directed, photographed and co-written by Vic Sarin, who made the first of the Left Behind movies — but don’t hold it against him.