It’s 1981, and Cáit (Catherine Clinch) is 9 years old and unloved, neglected and misunderstood by her family. Her father drinks and gambles, her exhausted mother struggles to feed the family, and her sisters ignore or insult her. Cáit is sent to live with distant relatives in rural Ireland for the summer, while her mother prepares for the birth of yet another baby.
While living on the farm with Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley) and Seán (Andrew Bennett), Cáit learns what it’s like to be loved and cared for. Cáit immediately steals Eibhlín’s heart, and Eibhlín lavishes affection on the young girl. Seán takes longer to get used to having her around. Meanwhile, Cáit wonders why there are airplanes and cars on the wallpaper in the room where she sleeps and a wardrobe full of little boy clothes in a house that has no children.
Eibhlín and Seán thought they knew exactly what they were doing by taking in Cáit, but they were unaware of the transformative power this quiet girl would have on their lives and hearts.
Poverty; child neglect; separation from family; death; grief; being misunderstood and unappreciated by those who are supposed to love you
The Quiet Girl has some violence. For example:
- A child says, ‘My mother gave your mother a punch in the nose’.
- Cáit is told how Seán and Eibhlín’s son drowned after following his dog. Seán was going to shoot the dog but couldn’t bear to go through with it.
The Quiet Girl has some sexual references. For example:
- One of Cáit’s sisters asks how a calf gets into a cow.
- Cáit’s father picks up a woman walking on the side of the road. They appear to be more than friends, and Cáit watches the woman suspiciously. There’s a subtle suggestion that they’re having an affair.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Quiet Girl shows some use of substances. For example:
- Cáit’s father drinks in a pub.
- Cáit’s father repeatedly smokes cigarettes, often in enclosed spaces like the car and also around his children.
- Cáit’s father puts his cigarette butt on his dinner plate, much to Eibhlín’s horror.
- Seán offers Cáit a drink at a wake.
- Cáit’s father mentions that he had a ‘liquid supper’, referring to alcohol.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Quiet Girl has some nudity. For example, Cáit has a bath while Eibhlín helps to scrub her. Cáit’s bare legs and arms are shown. Later on, she has another bath but scrubs herself.
There’s no product placement in The Quiet Girl.
The Quiet Girl has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Quiet Girl (An Cailín Ciúin) is an Irish-language movie with English subtitles. It’s based on the Claire Keegan’s novella Foster. The movie is simply and exquisitely done. Because of its language and subtitles, this movie isn’t aimed at children, but it’ll be appreciated by older, more mature audiences.
The main messages from The Quiet Girl are that love and kindness are never wasted. In fact, they make all the difference.
Values in The Quiet Girl that you could reinforce with your children include compassion, love, patience, empathy and helpfulness.
The Quiet Girl could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- wandering off on a farm and going too near water without an adult
- gambling or drinking too much.
- living with poverty and neglect
- being sent away from your family as a child.