Rory O'Shea Was Here

One thing I hate is having tears forcibly jerked out of my eyes or having my heart warmed in a non-consensual manner. I prefer my eyes dry and my heart as cold and stony as Dick Cheney’s soul. Still, I couldn’t help enjoying Rory O’Shea, a brutally heartwarming and tearjerking film about two severely disabled young men who try to live their lives outside the confines of an assisted living facility. What really makes this film work are the performances of James McAvoy as the titular Rory, Steven Robertson as his pal Michael Connolly and Romola Garai as their live-in aid Siobhan. Rory is a punk rocker with almost complete paralysis from the neck down, which allows him to still make an endless series of obnoxious and amusing comments. Michael’s disorder leaves him with distorted speech that only Rory can understand. Together, they form a sort of corporate entity that mixes Connolly’s fear of the world with O’Shea’s drunken and horny love of life. It sounds like a recipe for formula filmmaking, but the flamboyant charm of the actors and the witty script overcome the obviousness of the plot. Romola Garai, who was a scene-stealer in the underrated Vanity Fair and the overrated I Capture The Castle brings an uncanny naturalism to her acting which is a nice counterpoint to the more eye-catching style of the male leads. It’s perfect ensemble casting, and if it weren’t for the standard plot conflicts, this would be a great film. As it is, it’s still a lot better than most of what’s released this time of year.

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