Movies

Movie Review: Finding You

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After a record-breaking 437 days due to the once-in-a-century pandemic, the skies open up and the angels sing… no matter how many streaming choices I’ve got and how awesome they can be or how enjoyable outdoor drive-in theaters are, it’s not nearly the same as watching movies on the giant screen and surround sound in an indoor theater.  

The State of California has finally opened up and while any movie could be as good as any other, in the end, it’s not a superhero blockbuster or fast action franchise that drew me in.  It’s a low-key romcom filmed in Ireland.  Ireland, with its panoramic lush greenery, is one of the countries I’d love to return to visit someday.  

Seven years ago on the day before New Year’s day, dressed in five layers deep, I stood shivering at the Cliffs of Moher, nearly blown away, engulfed in one of the worst winter storms.  The cliffs were nearly invisible, shrouded in thick fog, and howling wind and freezing rain whipping the entire area.  

After working so hard and failing at an audition for the prestigious Manhattan Conservatory of Music, Finley Sinclair (Rose Reid), a technically accomplished, aspiring violinist decides to take a semester abroad in a coastal countryside of Ireland.  Her belated brother did that once and it changed his life.  

After a cute meeting on the plane with a movie star, Beckett Rush (Jedidiah Goodacre), and a later encounter at the bed & breakfast owned by Finley’s host family set them both on self-discovery paths.  The host family, who used to host Finley’s brother years ago, adds a hilarious flair with their hospitality and warmth.  The movie unexpectedly has numerous laugh-out-loud scenes. 

Beckett, the jaded teen heartthrob in a Game of Throne-esque movie series, has his whole life planned for him by his overly controlling father and manager, Montgomery Rush (Tom Everett Scott).  His on-and-off romance with longtime co-star, Taylor Risdale (Katherine McNamara), and the drama surrounding it, is frequently fabricated for the purpose of keeping the buzz alive for the movie and making it successful at all costs.  

Beckett’s relationship with Finley makes him look deeper about what he really wants to do with his life.  But it’s not just his life that he needs to think about; as a bankable movie star who’s been pushed to sign future contracts, his decision will impact everyone else around him.  

Finley is on her own journey too.  Being away from home, a refreshing change of scenery, the opportunity to let loose and play fiddle along with welcoming Irish folks relaxes her and gives her confidence, enabling her to put her heart into her performance.

At the same time, Finley tries hard to make a connection with a quarrelsome, reticent nursing home patient, Cathleen Sweeney (Vanessa Redgrave, “Letters to Juliet“), who is assigned to her as part of her school program.  The lonely elderly woman has been shunned for decades by the villagers due to something she did in her past.  

Finley, caring by nature, attempts to find out what really happened and help Cathleen.  This side storyline is surprisingly tear-jerking.  She is also on a personal mission to find one particular graveyard cross found in her brother’s drawing on the journal given by her host family.  

If you enjoy travelogue movies like “Leap Year,” “Letters to Juliet,” “Under the Tuscan Sun” or “Eat Pray Love,” you’ll find “Finding You” charming. 

Cliches aside, if you long for a feel-good gem, spectacular scenery that may inspire you to dream of traveling again, lively Irish music and pub toe-tapping dancing, a coming-of-age romance with a generous side of funny and poignancy, “Finding You” may just be what you’re looking for.  

Copyright (c) 2021. Nathalia Aryani

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic (rottentomatoes.com/critic/nathalia-aryani). She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

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