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Cal

By Jeff Shannon

Cal remains one of the finest films ever made about Ireland's contemporary troubles. It's a melancholy drama about a gentle 19-year-old Catholic in Northern Ireland (the title character, subtly played by John Lynch) who's haunted by his involvement with the IRA. He's attracted to a local widow (Helen Mirren) whose husband was murdered by an IRA assassin; Cal was a reluctant accessory to the killing. The attraction grows mutual between these lonely souls, but Cal's secret--and their inability to extract themselves from Ireland's violence--makes it impossible for love to blossom. Sensitively directed by Pat O'Connor, and enhanced by Mark Knopfler's fine, understated score, Cal tells a familiar story with quiet power and compassionate balance. Mirren, who won the Best Actress award at the Cannes film festival, matches Lynch with tender love in an atmosphere of hate. As Ireland continues to heal its political wounds, Cal is a quiet reminder that progress has been slow and rife with personal tragedy.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)DVD unavailableBuy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Pat O'Connor

Stars: Helen Mirren, John Lynch, Donal McCann, John Kavanagh, Ray McAnally, Stevan Rimkus, Kitty Gibson

Released: August 24, 1984

Availability: VHS CD


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