MOVIES & BOOZE: Planning a cinema trip this weekend?

Esther McCarthy reviews Kissing Candice and The Happy Prince

Kissing Candice (18) ***

 

The Stars: Ann Skelly, Ryan Lincoln. 

 

The Story: A rebellious young woman falls for a handsome stranger. 

 

TOP IRISH music video director Aoife McArdle turns her camera to her first feature film  -  and brings style and visual flair to this thriller set in a border town. 

 

McArdle, who has conceived and directed videos for U2 and Bryan Ferry as well as major commercial campaigns, brings a vivid style to this story told through the eyes of its title character (Skelly). 

 

Set in a small Irish seaside town south of the border, Candice is a volatile teenage girl who has passionate thoughts about a handsome boy she first sees in her dreams. Her fixation with him puts him on the radar of a ruthless local gang of young thugs. 

 

The highly atmospheric and at times abstract story centres on her dreams of escape, both from the seizures that have blighted her and the strict rules of her policeman father (John Lynch). 

 

The Verdict: A good-looking but uneven drama thriller. 

 

 

 

 

The Happy Prince (15A) **

 

The Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson. 

 

The Story: Drama about Oscar Wilde’s final days. 

 

RUPERT EVERETT brings his long mooted pet project to the big screen in this tale of Irish writer Oscar Wilde. It’s a sometimes moving account of the tortured playwright post-downfall, but I found it all a little heavy handed and overcooked. 

 

Making his directorial debut, Everett also wrote the screenplay and plays Wilde in the film, which took him ten years to bring to fruition. 

 

Set mostly in France, The Happy Prince is set during a period in Wilde’s life where the adulation and cheering audiences have long departed. 

 

Shunned and disgraced following his release from prison after doing a term of hard labour for a sentence of gross indecency with men, Wilde finds himself in exile and in poverty. 

 

In declining health, he ruminates over his previous glamorous life, stellar career and the wife and two sons he left behind. 

 

But there is still drama to be had when his temperamental young lover Bosie (Irish actor Colin Morgan) comes to visit, and friendship in the form of the loyal writer Reggie Turner (Firth). 

 

It’s melancholy, well crafted and acted, but ultimately left me a little cold. The film’s storytelling powers weren’t strong enough to make me empathise with this character and his sense of regret. 

 

The Verdict: A meandering movie that overstays its welcome.