There are many fine things in this world that are simply not built to obtain universal appeal. Maybe it’s more important to concern ourselves not with how many people appreciate something, but the depth of the feeling of those who do. I can tell you with certainty that not everybody is going to get/enjoy THE ECLIPSE (2009) but I guarantee a few folks are going to think it’s outstanding. If you are interested in the supernatural that should aid in your affection for it and if you’ve got some Irish in your blood, well that won’t hurt either. Can you withstand a romantic drama that features adult characters? Do you have patience? Do you mind the quiet? Do you like to read? Yeses to these questions will come in handy. You might also be required to be the type of person who can live with not everything being identified, tagged and put away in the proper drawer. Most urgently though, I suspect you’d better believe in ghosts. Hopefully you’ve even encountered one or two.
The haunted looking CIARAN HINDS (THERE WILL BE BLOOD) plays a widower knee deep in grief whose job it is to chauffer authors about a small seaside town during a literary festival. Lately he’s been seeing spooky apparitions and so he cozies up to a novelist (IBEN HJEJLE) whose writing suggests she’d be less skeptical than most. She’s got some baggage too, most notably a lecherous, drunk hook up (AIDAN QUINN) that she can’t seem to scrape off her shoe. Basically we’ve got a four-sided love triangle with one of those sides being already dead. I love this cast. CIABRAN breaks your heart and HJEJLE should be in so many more movies. I kept thinking that I knew her somehow and yes, I do; I met her in HIGH FIDELITY and MIFUNE years ago and then we totally lost touch. Do you know who has aged well? AIDAN QUINN. Here he’s playing against type as a belligerent miscreant and he’s surprisingly successful at being repellent!
Here’s something else I should confess. There is a scare in this movie that knocked my unsuspecting boots off. I can’t promise it’ll have the same effect on you, but it really, truly got to me. Maybe I was taken off guard because the movie is so generally hushed and melancholic or maybe it was just really late at night. Perhaps I was somewhat hypnotized by HJEJLE’s character reading out loud a finely tuned description of how the mind reacts when facing the dead. I don’t want to spoil the shock for those who might be susceptible too, but a big heap of the credit falls on the way the music is handled. You are sort of surrounded by soaring angelic chanting that abruptly transforms into a horrific banshee shriek and it’s like a marching band walking on your grave. I felt like somebody poured a tub of ice water down the back of my shirt and the sensation stuck around. I know, now I’ve got your expectations up and you’ll watch it and be bored out of your skull. Sorry about that but even if your hair does not turn as white as mine did, you may still find this worthwhile. But again, only if you like ghosts stories and only if you can stand the quiet.