“Interesting, Dark, Thoughtful And Melancholic...”
“A Dull Tale Told Amid Off-putting Photography”
Women tend to hide secrets in the original scripts of filmmaker Neil Jordan.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
In Ondine, a film about a fisherman and a mythical sea creature, Neil Jordan shows his fondness for fantasy worlds.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Silkies aren't the only creatures who can inhabit two worlds. As Annie knows, and as Jordan's film makes clear, stories enable us to step outside the quotidian world and dream, if only for an hour or two.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
Among the film's pleasures is a disarmingly tender performance from the new, improved Colin Farrell.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Writer/director Neil Jordan gradually builds up the possibility of fairy-tale magic in an identifiably real world, and then systematically knocks it down.
Karina Longworth - Village Voice
Why is the dialogue so muffled and clipped that it's hard to understand? Why didn't Mr. Jordan spend more time grounding his self-enchanted script in some semblance of reality?
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Jordan starts to tell an intriguing tale about living with fantasy but falls back on plot turns cued to the flashing lights of cops and paramedics.
Bill Stamets - Chicago Sun-Times
The characters' needs are so simple they're almost mysterious, and the story traces an elusive line between fond fantasy and harsh reality.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Full of melancholy and blarney...
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Ondine is so good it hurts.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
I doubt if it has much commercial appeal, but even with its flaws, it could be fresh and offbeat enough to please discerning art-house audiences who ask for more with their Irish breakfast tea than a water biscuit.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
If only the film had stuck with its fairy-tale story. Instead, the final 30 minutes turn into a bloody thriller with a tacked-on happy ending.
V.A. Musetto - New York Post
Some complexities of story will be lost on audiences not tuned to the regional Irish brogue that is the mother tongue of this little fishing community. But Christopher Doyle's dark lush photography plucks the green coast of Cork like a harp.
Jonathan F. Richards - Film.com
A lyrical, if slight, breeze of an Irish fable.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
There is enough saving grace on these craggy shores to let the mists and the legends roll in and envelop you for a while.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Things start to go awry when we realize that the film's emotional sensitivity doesn't go much deeper than its moody surfaces.
- Film Comment Magazine
- Digital Spy
Dave White - Movies.com
An Irish selkie tale for adults.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Understated in its subversion of, and then canny adherence to, its chosen folklore
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
A fairy tale for adults from Neil Jordan
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
He's an Irishman, she's a seal. It'll never work.
Rob Thomas - Wisconsin State Journal
An imperfect film, but it's the kind of imperfect film with staying power.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Ondine works OK when it's trying to be a romantic fantasy. Screenwriter/director Neil Jordan can't leave well enough alone, though. His fable suddenly turns dark and nasty in the final third, when it becomes a thriller.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
At its most affecting, this uneven quasi-fantasy is about people hungering for myth
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
Hard to swallow fish tale.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ondine is one of those lovely things that dissolves beneath too intent a gaze.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Before we're bogged down in melodrama, we float along as if we're passengers on Syracuse's boat, enjoying the superb performances and the slow rocking rhythm rolling out the love story.
Kimberly Gadette - Indie Movies Online
It's impossibly romantic; Farrell and real-life partner Bachleda exude a tamped-down longing that intensifies as the movie draws to its conclusion.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
Irish writer-director Neil Jordan will always be best remembered for The Crying Game and its penile plot twist, but there's infinitely more to his filmography than surprise shemales.
Rick Kisonak - Film Threat
Fantastical Neil Jordan drama sees Colin Farrell's best performance yet
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Ondine works best when it stays in the dreamy realm of enchantment...
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
Has such a breezy, playful sense of despair about it... The appeal is very much its delicacy, both as magical realism love story and bleak story of broken people in a run-down community.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Curiously, Jordan isn't sure what kind of mermaid movie to make.
Dan Lybarger - eFilmCritic.com
Ondine is dipped in whimsy and might have drifted out to sea, but it's bounded on four sides by love stories - between a father and a daughter, a man and a mermaid, an actor and his co-star, and a director and his country.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
As Jordan drifts around, searching for a consistent tone, it becomes evident he isn't sure what kind of story he's telling.
Loey Lockerby - Kansas City Star
Charming as always, Jordan goes a little easier on his foolish mortals this time, but only at the expense of increased melodrama, cliche, and sentimentality.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
Neil Jordan's strange and wonderful, if minor-key "Ondine" is a rare thing. It is a film-noir fairy tale and a modern-day retelling of the North Atlantic legend of the Selkie, a sirenlike sea creature that can take the form of a beautiful woman.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Minor, though mostly enjoyable...
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
works its magic in peculiar and unexpected ways that make it both beguiling and delightful without ever being simple-minded or obvious
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
It's difficult to walk the line between fantasy and the real world without straying too far to one side (or simply cheating), but Jordan masterfully modulates the movie's tone.
Sam Adams - Philadelphia City Paper
Cinematographer Christopher Doyle makes the lovely Irish landscapes shimmer.
Writer-director Jordan is a master of such chimerical narratives.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
A briny fable that takes atmospheric advantage of appealing sea mythology and a small-town slice-of-life story about how people need to see magic in their mundane environs.
Anita Katz - San Francisco Examiner
Ondine makes us believe in fairy tales because it so clearly longs to.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Jordan, who also wrote the screenplay, makes some gentle jabs at small-town nosiness and claustrophobia, even as he spins out the shadowy riddles of the story.
Michael Upchurch - Seattle Times
It's a film that leaves me very conflicted in that I wish there were more like it in theory and I love star Colin Farrell's recent career decisions, but a film cannot be judged on intentions and Ondine simply doesn't float.
Brian Tallerico - Movie Retriever
This movie is a one-of-a-kind experience -- blarney carried to rhapsodic heights.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
The misbegotten final scenes do hurt "Ondine" to some degree but it says a lot about the strengths of the rest of the film that they don't do enough damage to completely harm it.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
Jordan imposes upon his characters bittersweet twists of fate and coincidences of convenience that make the ultimate revelation of the truth of the scenario a dishonest letdown.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Ondine is a lovely, low-key surprise.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
If you found a picture like Bill Forsythe's 'Local Hero' to your liking, this bit of Irish blarney should work for you as well.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
If this movie were a human being, it would be intelligent and sincere but so depressed as to be unable to get out of bed without a forklift.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
...gracefully shot by uber-lenser Christopher Doyle and the islands around Ireland's County Cork are a beautiful backdrop.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It sort of falls flat.
Michael Phillips - At the Movies
There are some interesting secondary characters, but you didn't get I thought a full enough sense of this world and it's dramatic stakes.
A.O. Scott - At the Movies
Intriguing, bittersweet, tender and refreshingly unpredictable with beautiful cinematography and a radiant performance by Alicja Bachleda.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
With help from the legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Jordan invokes some gorgeous imagery; it's part run-down, gray and foggy, but occasionally, surprisingly, beautiful and breathtaking.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Intense mythical drama with some drinking and violence.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
A simple story that isn't entirely original, but is infused with just enough mystery and charm to make it fulfilling.
Daniel Hubschman - Hollywood.com
Haunting and lyrical.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Ondine plumbs the country's most resonant fairy tale and plays impishly along the borders of postcard fantasies of Ireland.
Ella Taylor - NPR.org
Jordan acknowledges the world as a flawed place. But he also knows that the cracks in everyday life, even the ones so fine that sunlight can't get through, are exactly where the glamour creeps in.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
more a flawed exercise in storytelling than an honest-to-God failure
Chris Cabin - Filmcritic.com
Ondine looks heavy and it ends up feeling a little slight, but between those two extremes there's a beguiling siren song of a movie about the way the unexpected has a way of intruding on even the most fatalistic lives.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
An enchanting Irish adult fairy tale about love, redemption, and healing.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
It's a film of unique quandaries executed by an ace cast, but Ondine doesn't leave a lasting impression, only mild enchantment with a handful of exceptional moments.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Its real-life, sensuous imagery prompts more than thought: Jordan's updated Celtic myth provokes erotic, spiritual consciousness. It's an adult fantasy whose beauty invites both dreamlike surrender and rationality -- as the best cinema always does.
Armond White - New York Press
The intention outweighs the execution, though there are still pleasures to be had.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
A charmer, a film that pulls you into an alternate world and makes you feel the possibilities...quietly surprising in its own lovely way.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
Myth fixates Neil Jordan, but he sees the universal in the archaic, updating the tall tales to modern times while retaining its unique moral and psychological quintessence.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
Charming, fanciful, lyrical, bittersweet, redemptive tale that lightens your heart with a delectable bit of Irish blarney.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Writer/director Neil Jordan proves himself unclear on the concept of magical realism.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
...crafted by Jordan with such a light touch that it seems to weave a spell around its viewer unawares, like a fish caught in a gillnet...a wonderful return to form for the Irish writer/director.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Colin Farrell's understated performance is the main attraction in this intermittently charming but largely bland fairy tale from writer-director Neil Jordan.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
A pure delight and resonant beyond its slight contours.
Pam Grady - Boxoffice Magazine
Jordan approaches his latest project as if it's a modern-day fairy tale -- while probably hoping that his audience is not too cynical to play along.
Scott Weinberg - Cinematical
A dull tale told against off-putting photography.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Quite what Neil Jordan thought he was doing is hard to say, beyond hooking Farrell up with a mail-order ingenue and unveiling the least lustrous visuals ever composed by Chris Doyle who very possibly spent the shoot asleep in a puddle of Guinness.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
The director fudges the answer by weaving a sometimes astoundingly clunky fable about the power of hope, miracles and Iceland's most insipid musical export.
Sophie Ivan - Little White Lies
Along with the uniformly fine performances, what makes Ondine really worth the trip to your nearest arthouse cinema is its wonderful charm, which it has in bucketloads.
Mayer Nissim - Sky Movies
Driven by Farrell's easy, unaffected performance and his obvious chemistry with the less polished yet suitably winsome Bachdela, this fanciful meld of drama and romance is a consummate cockle-warmer.
Chris Prince - Sky Movies
A sweet, lyrical treatment of the perennial 'woman from the sea' myth, well acted and beautifully shot amid Irish coastal landscapes. But the last degree of enchantment is missing.
Philip Kemp - Total Film
For all the effort expended, Jordan never really entices us into believing the magic. It looks classy, but it just doesn't come off.
Trevor Johnston - Radio Times
Christopher Doyle's camera work is elegantly composed; but the film has nothing to say, and spends an inordinate amount of time saying it.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Jordan shows he is still a great storyteller by keeping the audience guessing until near the end. It falls short of greatness, though, partly due to poor casting.
Grant Rollings - Sun Online
With any Jordan film there are a few moments of poetry, wit and transcendence. But you need a large net to catch them here.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
When revelation of the story's soggy mysteries is finally fished out from the murk it's so underwhelming you'd be tempted to throw it right back into the water.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
Jordan, refreshingly, presents rural Ireland without the cliches. Farrell, speaking in an impenetrable accent, is totally believable, throwing off his star persona as if he were glad to be rid of the weight.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Ondine is an enjoyable, emotionally engaging and utterly charming love story.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Great-looking-but-actually-a-bit-rubbish Irish drama.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Funny, whimsical and as warming as a big bowl of Irish stew.
David Hughes - Empire Magazine
A clunky third-act shift into thriller territory only makes 'Ondine' more confused: ambitious and deeply felt, to be sure, but also winsome and wildly uneven.
Tom Huddlestone - Time Out
With its ridiculous but rather charming plot and gorgeous Irish seascapes, the film also tries to tackle alcoholism and drug-dealing, with mixed results.
Kate Muir - Times [UK]
You'll need a soft spot for this kind of whimsy, and mine sadly is like reinforced concrete.