James McAvoy as Rory O’Shea
Steven Robertson as Michael Connolly
Romola Garai as Siobhan
Gerard McSorley as Fergus Connolly
Tom Hickey as Con O’Shea
Brenda Fricker as Eileen
Alan King as Tommy
Ruth McCabe as Annie
Anna Healy as Alice
Sarah Jane Drummey as Girl in Pub
Rachel Hanna as Girl in Pub
Emmet Kirwan as Angry Man
Pat Shortt as Nightclub Doorman
Stanley Townsend as Interview Panelist
Derbhle Crotty as Interview Panelist
Extended Party Sequence
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
This film was originally released in the UK with the title “Inside I’m Dancing”. The following is the description from the DVD cover:
“From the producers of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Billy Elliot comes Rory O’Shea Was Here – an inspiring story of independence that follows two unlikely friends determined to face the world on their own terms. Young Michael (Steven Robertson) is a patient resigned to his quiet life within an institution’s safe, predictable boundaries. Then, the rebellious Rory O’Shea (James McAvoy) bursts onto the scene. Now, with the help of the beautiful young Siobhan (Romola Garai), who signs on as the boys’ live-in aide, Rory will show Michael what it takes to truly be free.”
Rory O’Shea Was Here is rated R for language
Rory O’Shea Was Here is almost three movies in one. The first third features two handicapped men who are initially enemies, then friends. Rory and Michael then do everything in their power to get out of the assisted living facility they reside at and get out into the world on their own. That portion of the film is filled with laughs, sweet moments, and a lot of lighthearted scenes. The second third of the film turns into a romance with a love triangle as the beautiful Siobhan agrees to become their nurse and assistant. Both of the young men develop crushes on her that, of course, leads to conflict. The final third of the movie turns into a heart wrenching drama as one of the friends’ health takes a turn for the worse.
I was really into the first two thirds of this movie. I thought it was great fun with a lot of hilarious moments and it really turned these men with disabilities into characters that you felt for. You really got to know them beyond their handicaps. Our other reviewer Ed Douglas mentioned that he thought this movie mocked their disabilities like a Farrelly Brothers movie, but I never got that feeling. I never thought the comedy was mean spirited and I thought it was more laughing with the men and the humor of their situations than at them. The laughter makes you care about the characters in short order and it makes the eventual love triangle all the more interesting. However, the final third of the movie is drastically different in tone and it becomes quite depressing. It really negated the good feelings built up by the rest of the movie and ultimately made it less entertaining.
The acting in the film is superb. James McAvoy plays Rory O’Shea. He’s a very outgoing character that can, at times, be quite confrontational. Despite this, he’s very likable. McAvoy convincingly plays both his lighthearted side and his frustrated side. You really understand his frustrations at not being able to care for himself and being confined to a wheelchair. He makes a good match with Steven Robertson as Michael Connolly. Robertson’s performance as a man with cerebral palsy was so convincing that I at times wondered if he was really afflicted with it. Very few of his lines are intelligible, but he plays the character with a lot of emotion. You always know what Michael is thinking or feeling despite his limited controls of his body. Finally, you have Romola Garai as Siobhan. She’s both beautiful and spirited, so it’s easy to see why both of the young men would be attracted to her.
If you’re looking for something that’s a little bit different or if you like British comedies, then I think you may enjoy this movie. It varies too much in tone to be entirely enjoyable, but there’s enough good stuff here to make it worth checking out.
There are a minimal number of bonus features on this DVD. I wish there had been some interviews with the actors because I think their performances were quite unique:
Deleted Scenes – The most notable of the deleted scenes is the alternate ending. In it, we see Michael going to law school and becoming friends with Rory’s father. You also see Michael racing the kids in his apartment complex. I have to say that I liked this ending better than the one in the film. It told a little more of what happened to the characters after the story ended and it concluded the movie on a high note. One of the other deleted scenes shows what happened when Rory was thrown in jail.
Extended Party Sequence – This party scene is almost identical to the one in the movie, but after Michael leaves, Rory gets on the karaoke machine and professes Michael’s feelings for Siobhan in front of the entire party, thus embarrassing her. It makes it a little more apparent why she wants to quit working for them than what is shown in the movie.
The Bottom Line:
Rory O’Shea Was Here is a mix of humor, romance, and drama. There’s a little something here for everyone, but the final product may not be entirely satisfying to anyone looking for just one of the three genres. Still, it’s worth checking out.