Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

The Secret of Roan Inish

By Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Gentle Irish folk tale of a young girl's island odyssey.

Movie PG 2000 103 minutes
The Secret of Roan Inish Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 7+

Magical mythical Irish storytelling

I saw this film in theaters when I was 21 and was enchanted. As St. Patrick’s Day is approaching I decided to share it with my son hoping that a story intense enough to capture my 21-year-old imagination wouldn’t be too much for my little guy. I’m glad I did. He was spell-bound. The film is very much from the POV of its young protagonist, Fiona, who pieces together stories she’s told by her fascinating community. Fiona is lovely. She’s a great listener and sensitive to things the adults in family miss. She and her teenage cousin show tremendous ingenuity and a willingness to work hard —very empowering for kids. There’s an eerie (spooky even) tone to the film for sure, and it seems like nature may be sinister at first, and that creates tension that is ultimately resolved through understanding. My child is used hearing/reading slower-paced sustained stories and didn’t have too much trouble following the plot. We did pause a couple of times when the characters’ dialect was confusing for him.
age 5+

Gently moving tale of love

LOVE that this is a kind of mystery fairy tale. But there are no scary jump scenes. Things are just slowly revealed and taken for granted. Not spooky. Lovely. Great for any age. Beautifully told.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11 ):
Kids say (10 ):

This is a lyrical, quiet movie about a child's faith in miracles. The folkloric tale is spun in an idyllic setting with great respect for the wonders of animals and nature. In his first "family" film, writer-director John Sayles brings to life, and blends, myth, tragedy, and joy. The film will appeal to both children and grown-ups, and can best be enjoyed together.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate