By Scott Weinberg (reprint from 4/22/10 -- Tribeca Film Festival)
Take a dash of Splash, a generous pinch of The Secret of Roan Inish, and a healthy portion of low-key and very effective Irish charm, and the result is Ondine, a sweet and frankly lovely little film from Neil Jordan. Best known for movies like Mona Lisa, The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire, Michael Collins, and The Brave One, 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.
Colin Farrell stars (and excels) as a fisherman with a handicapped daughter, a dumpy trawler, and a history of alcoholism. But things take a turn for the weird once the lovely Ondine (Alicja Bachleda) pops up in one of Syracuse's fishing nets. At first he believes the stunning woman to be a figment of his imagination, but reality kicks in once his adorable but wheelchair-bound daughter Annie (Alison Barry) befriends the mysterious woman.
The wistful belief between Syracuse and Annie is that Ondine is a "Selkie," a creature sort of like a mermaid, but one beholden to an entirely different set of rules. (For a better definition of the "creature," see here.) Deep down they know it's a game ... but then why are Syracuse's fishing nets suddenly swollen with whoppers? How to explain the bizarre occurrences involving Syracuse's glum ex-wife and the overall "effect" that Ondine seems to have on men?