Once again, I feel super lucky with my ever expanding circle of inspiring contacts across the world. People who achieve great things, are go-getters and want to make a real difference. One person who is no exception to this fact is Tom Ryan. A film director, writer and now, lecturer, Tom has quite a lot of success under his belt as a thirty-something year old. His 2017 release, Twice Shy has been the recipient of many awards, exceptional reviews and well-needed addressing of delicate subjects. Indeed Twice Shy has catapulted Irish films’ reputation into another dimension.
The movie has been on tour across Ireland and the world. Last year, it screened in the Lighthouse cinema for a week (later extended to a second week). This was followed by screenings in Cannes Film festival and more recently, in Berlin. Its cast includes rising stars and familiar faces including Pat Short, Ardal O’Hanlon and Emmet Byrne. Meanwhile, Shane-Murray Corcoran and Iseult Casey portray the developing relationship of a young couple in Ireland having to face a stressful trip to the UK for an abortion.
Abortion isn’t the only topic that has its reality brought to life in the movie. Mental health is addressed in a touching and real way. One scene in particular features a true and honest conversation that banishes stigmatisation and instead shows it is OK not to be OK.
We need this in Ireland at the moment. A movie that’s real and ensures light is shed on tricky topics. When we say ‘like in the movies’, we really need that to reflect real-life and vice-versa. Want predictable endings and cringey romantic scenes? Then don’t watch Twice Shy. How about pure constant happiness without ups and downs? Then really, don’t watch it. If however you’d like to walk away from your screen feeling contemplative, informed and like you’ve had a genuine experience, then do watch it.
During the movie, you’ll recognise not just faces you know but locations also. Filming predominantly took place between Dublin and Tom’s native Nenagh in County Tipperary. Hot spots like the Grand Canal and Una’s pub, provide a perfect setting. Colloquial references to school day familiarities such as Leaving Cert night, having the craic and moving up to Dublin from the country spring up. Sure we can all relate to something as an Irish person. On the other hand, as a non-Irish spectator, there’s so much to learn about how we operate as a people and our soft and genuine connection to life. We’re down to earth, family-focused and supportive. Even though our political systems appear to be letting us down, at least we have voices we can use and connections we can make. I don’t want to spoil the movie but the raw and real connection is an ongoing theme. Whether it’s between best friends, father and son or lovers, realness conquers all including trials and tribulations.
Twice Shy is available to stream on www.volta.ie