Parents' Guide to

Wildfire

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Irish sibling drama has language, violence, adult themes.

Movie NR 2021 85 minutes
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Writer-director Cathy Brady makes a strong first impression with her debut feature film about the intense reunion between two siblings haunted by family history, generational trauma, and political unrest. Wildfire is a powerful 85 minutes filled with great complexity and some potent visual flourishes that emerge from the understated direction. The focus is always first and foremost on the two sisters -- Lauren and Kelly -- their psychological worlds experienced as strongly as any of the physical settings surrounding them. Referred to as "Irish Twins" having been born less than a year apart, the bond between the sisters is intense. At points they clash angrily, at others their very beings seem to bleed into each other, as they dance in primal unison, an elemental connection taking hold, or as they position themselves in such close physical proximity that their bodies could easily be conjoined.

This uneasy ebb and flow, tension between unison and divergence, is reflected in the political boundaries in the background. The characters cross the Irish border in the local river, playfully switching between shouting "I'm in the north," and "I'm in the south," further enforcing the sense of blurred lines between two separate yet inevitably connected forces. Skillfully acted by both lead actors, the film is a real tour de force. Noone and McGuigan fully embody the characters and, despite the increasingly dangerous spiral, make it easy to root for these two unbound spirits, pulling at the tethers of their past and surroundings to finally break free.

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