Film / Ondine

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Ondine is a 2009 Irish romantic drama film starring Stephen Rea and Colin Farrell acting alongside Alicja Bachleda. The film was written and directed by Neil Jordan, the first film to be both written and directed by him since The Crying Game.

The film is set in the West of Ireland. Farrell plays a fisherman called Syracuse who catches a woman in his net one day. The woman is mysterious and wishes not to be seen by people. Syracuse's daughter Annie suspects she is a selkie.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Syracuse and Maura, the difference is Syracuse has kicked his addiction.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign
  • As You Know: Annie gives Ondine a list of selkie rules. Subverted and coupled with Fridge Brilliance after the twist.
  • Bitch Alert: Annie's mother. She doesn't get any nicer.
  • Catch-Phrase: Annie, "curiouser and curiouser". See Shout-Out below.
  • Child Prodigy: Annie.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Syracuse and Ondine/Joanna to allow her to stay in the country.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Alex being the perfect candidate to donate a kidney to Annie after the car crash, just as Syracuse makes a wish. Funnily enough this one doesn't make sense after the twist.
  • Daddy's Girl: Annie though it's not hard since he's the only competent parent she has.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Ondine.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Ondine isn't really a selkie, just a really good swimmer. The song she sings is actually a foreign pop song and her selkie husband is a drug smuggler.
  • Domestic Abuse: Syracuse and his wife do not have a healthy relationship, and it's entirely her fault.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Syracuse dislikes being called "Circus" because it serves as a reminder of his alcoholic past.
  • Fanservice: There's no real reason for Ondine to wear nothing but sexy outfits throughout the whole movie while everyone else dresses like the hardy port residents they are, but she does it anyway, and the camera sure enjoys portraying gorgeous Alicja Bachleda in all her glory whenever she has any screentime.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first 60% of the film is a romantic drama with a fairytale feel to it. The last 40% is a crime thriller.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Everybody drops what they're doing to gawk at Ondine when Syracuse returns to port with her standing on deck. Granted, she is a beautiful woman who's wearing a sexy dress at that moment, but the other fishermen on every single damn ship in the harbor act like they've never seen any remotely attractive female being in the flesh ever before.
  • Ill Girl: Annie.
  • Idiot Ball: Syracuse grabs it firmly during Alex' wake when he, a recovering alcoholic, gets pissed as a fart and proceeds to ditch the beautiful, caring woman that brought him nothing but unnatural luck, just because his abusive asshole wife told him so.
  • Informed Attribute: Syracuse gets called "Circus" all the time, supposedly because he was a funny drunk. When we finally see him drunk, he's not funny at all.
  • Lady Drunk: Maura.
  • Light Haired Swimmer
  • Lingerie Scene: Ondine gets quite a few of them.
  • Magic Realism: Subverted.
  • Meaningful Name: Ondine means "out of the water"
  • Mood Whiplash: And how!
  • Oireland: Mostly averted with an Irish cast though Colin Farrell does seem to slip into it a bit with his heavy Cork accent.
  • Only Sane Man: Stephen Rea's character the Parish Priest.
  • Running Gag: Syracuse being called "Circus" by just about everybody again and again despite his ceaseless protest. Even the priest gets in on it several times.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters
  • Sadly Mythtaken: A Scottish mythical creature with a French name, living in Ireland. Of course subverted with the twist. Selkies are a part of Irish folklore too
  • Scenery Porn
  • Scotireland: Selkies are Scottish creatures while Merrows are the Irish equivalents. Alex, who is Scottish, lampshades this.
  • Scotland: Alex (Annie's stepfather) is Scottish.
  • Selkies and Wereseals
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Ondine gets a couple of these after going swimming in her dress.
  • She's Got Legs: Ondine does like to wear dresses that show off her lovely legs, be it the one Syracuse bought for her, or the ones she picked by herself later. Clothes aside, there's a whole scene dedicated to nothing else but Ondine's naked legs when she dives out of sight on his boat and continues to steer with one foot while sitting on the floor. The sexiness overload actually prompts Syracuse to awkwardly adjust his collar.
  • Shout-Out: Annie's catchphrase is one to Alice in Wonderland.
  • Sirens Are Selkies: Ondine has a haunting singing voice that is said to hypnotise lobsters and fish into the nets.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Syracuse looks like he's never even touched a comb or razor. General consensus is that this makes the already Mr. Fanservice Colin Farrell even more attractive. Ondine, although looking a lot more civilized than him, most definitely counts as well.
  • Weirdness Censor: The two officials that board Syracuse's ship for inspection halfway into the movie appear to be a lot more concerned with the fact that a specific net of his isn't wet than with the other fact that there's a young, scantily dressed, completely unknown woman hiding underneath said net in the ship's hold. Syracuse himself seems to find the whole situation fairly entertaining, and once the officials have left without much of a fuss, it's never brought up again.
  • Wild Hair: Syracuse. Ondine to a somewhat lesser but still valid degree.
  • Women Are Wiser: Averted with Maura, Annie's mother who is an alcoholic mess. Even her equally boozed up husband is more competent than her.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Ondine