Finding You: Months after Wild Mountain Thyme, Sky gives us more crock-of-gold baloney

Review: Twinkly ballads aside, it at least portrays Ireland as a modern place

Finding You
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Director: Brian Baugh
Cert: Club
Genre: Romance
Starring: Rose Reid, Jedidiah Goodacre, Katherine McNamara, Patrick Bergin, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave
Running Time: 1 hr 59 mins

Last week, we heard a few flutters of the pious – ultimately doomed – argument that, when it comes to football tournaments, Ireland will never gain maturity until it puts away its default anyone-other-than-England position. Yeah, you can forget that. But we could maybe dial back on the undignified relish that greets Hollywood's unstinting efforts to make a hallucinatory fairyland of the contemporary Irish state. Move on. Ignore it. Take the higher path.

No, that won’t be happening either. A few months after we lost our collective shillelagh over Wild Mountain Thyme – a little-seen film that generated more column inches here than Black Widow – Sky offers us another adventure in crock-of-gold baloney.

A young violinist (Rose Reid) travels from New York to Carlingford with a mind to bolstering an Irish studies module that may help her get into a prestigious music school. On the plane, she encounters an Aryan movie star (Jedidiah Goodacre), who is shooting a Game-of-Thrones style movie in the same area. They initially squabble. They become closer. You know how these things go.

To be fair to the folk behind this harmless YA entertainment, we are not dealing in the phantasmagorical levels of Paddywhackery that made the Jamie Dornan vehicle such a sensation. As ever, visitors to the country gain a kind of mystical understanding – the product of damp cowpats and twinkly ballads – that they presumably wouldn't find on a trip to, say, Belgium or North Macedonia.


Geography is so altered that a drive from Louth to the Cliffs of Moher seems to take only a slivereen of the gentle afternoon (this stuff is catching). A Patrick Bergin Type in a battered hat is always at hand to blather aphorisms and scrape out melodies on a fiddle.

But, to be fair, unlike W*ld M*untain Thy*e, Finding You admits that Ireland has passed through the 20th century. Though required to spit out a great deal of the usual dew-soaked waffle, the cast inhabit recognisably contemporary dwellings and rarely dress like Peig Sayers tribute acts. Think of Jessica Fletcher’s visits to the auld sod in Murder She Wrote and you’re halfway there.

None of the Irish actors need hang their heads. Saoirse-Monica Jackson, wryest of the Derry Girls, throws so much sugar-rushed energy at her supporting role that we barely get a chance to take in the thinness of the dialogue. Hang on, is the Patrick Bergin Type… It is. The great man himself is here to wear a hat and spread 70-per cent-proof wisdom about the peninsula that gave us Joe Biden. Would he not give someone else a go?

Vanessa Redgrave, who must surely have better things to do, is also on board as a crochetty lady with an implausible third-act revelation. "I don't care if you're the blessed Virgin Mary!" she bellows in an excellent generic Irish accent. A bit of class is always welcome. The least said about the bland American stars the soonest they can get back to wherever it was they came from.

In short, domestic viewers in search of outrage may find themselves a tad disappointed. Finding You scores around six on the logarithmic PH scale – Paddywhackery Hazard – that leads from acceptable neo-realist films at one to the herb we won’t mention again at 10. Mind you, the film-makers’ decision to rhyme “scone” with “tone” in a county that, according to the relevant map, is split 50-50 on that contentious issue will certainly trigger some anger.

Available to stream on Sky Movies.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist