by thepingofpong


You have seen this before: the wheelchair for pity and empathy- Tom Cruise in Born on The Fourth of July; the defiant inmate of an institution- Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, death as a bountiful spring of tears- any number of Nicholas Sparks’ adaptation. Yes, there is a lot of formula in Ireland’s Inside I’m Dancing to suggest it is a lazy choice seeing as the country only has one film entered in this year’s festival. But it will be a fib to say the movie is without heartrending moments. It was Noel Coward who posited: “Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”

In Inside I’m Dancing, troublesome Rory O’Shea is transferred to a home for the disabled where he insults the staff, usurp the order and peace of the place a la McMurphy in Cuckoo’s Nest, and forms a friendship with Michael Connolly, a quiet inmate with cerebral palsy and a speech only Rory, it so happens, can understand. The pair engages in wild behaviour, breaking several rules and eventually seeking independent living- which they get after few complications. They employ a female personal assistant with whom Michael falls in love with- as Rory looks on in embarrassment- and experiences the inevitable heartbreak as part of the unpredictabilities of independent living.

The film stars a younger James McAvoy, seen in 2011’s X-Men: First Class but it is Steven Robertson that delivers a more eye-catching performance as Michael Connolly. And together with Romola Garai as Siobhan, the PA, they give a worthy performance of three young people learning and relearning the ways of the world.

The screenplay avoids potential sentimentalities by placing the two unlikely heroes at the center of the movie and at the end, the sight of Michael going into town on his own, upon Rory’s prompting, is a triumph.