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JUNE 21, 1999: 

THIS IS MY FATHER. One sign of a weak script is a narrative that relies upon coincidence to drive its story forward, and this Irish/Canadian co-production depends upon several. The film attempts to document an ordinary man and his family against an unbelievable backdrop, a move which results in an uneven tone throughout. Kieran (James Caan) never knew his father, yet he's motivated to travel to the Irish village his mother Fiona (Moya Farrelly) grew up in after his nephew accidentally smashes open a wooden box that just happens to contain a love letter written by Kieran Sr. (Aidan Quinn). When he arrives in Ireland, he has the uncanny fortune to lodge at the home of a woman who was told the story of his parents by a young Fiona. The narrative then alternates between Kieran and his father; but their tales are so unrelated, the characters exist without substantial resonance for one another. The cinematography and locations are beautiful, but they cannot calm the frustration caused by the disjointed and incongruous plot. --Polly Higgins

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