A struggling Irish fisherman (Colin Farrell) hoists his net one day and finds himself custodian of a bedraggled but beautiful woman (Alicja Bachleda), who begs him to hide her. When he brings her home, his paraplegic daughter informs him that the woman must be a selkie—a mythical creature that takes the form of a seal underwater and a human on land. This lovely drama represents a welcome homecoming for writer-director Neil Jordan after the ugly Manhattan misadventure of The Brave One; he lives just outside Castletownbere, the southern coastal village where the story is set, and its grimy magic is nicely captured in the rich, dark tones of ace cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The movie has been compared to The Crying Game (1992), still the high-water mark of Jordan's career, and I can see why: the characters' needs are so simple they're almost mysterious, and the story traces an elusive line between fond fantasy and harsh reality. With Stephen Rea. PG-13, 111 min.
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