Film: Rory O Shea Was Here

The 2004 Drama by Damien O’Donnell tells the story of two young disabled men in Ireland claiming the dignity and independence everyone deserves. It stars Steven Robertson, James McAvoy and Romola Garai.

Michael Connolly (Robertson) is a young Dubliner with cerebral palsy, who lives in a Residential Home for the Disabled, when one day his boring and mundane life is turned upside down by the arrival of also wheel chair bound rebel Rory O’ Shea (McAvoy). Michael realises that the foulmouthed and opinionated Rory can understand him despite his speech impediment and they become friends. They successfully apply for Independent Living Allowance, start living together in their own flat and hire the beautiful Siobhan as their caretaker. Difficulties arise when Michael starts falling in love with the girl.

In the UK the film was released under the title Inside I’m dancing and received mixed reviews, which mostly criticised its predictability while the actor’s performances were praised.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Romola Garai would decide to be a nurse again in Atonement, where this time she would be the one with unrequited feelings for James McAvoy and he would also die young of a disease.
  • The Alcoholic: Implied with Rory's father, though in Ireland it's hard to tell.
  • Bait and Switch: This little bit of dialogue from Rory and Siobhan
    Siobhan: Were you born like this?
    Rory: Like what?
    Siobhan: Dodgy hair and shit taste in music.
  • Bitch Alert: Eileen, "we don't give out front door keys", "we don't allow coarse language here".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Prepare your tissues.
  • Bumbling Dad: Rory's dad, who has him in care homes simply because he's unable to cope.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Type 1.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Michael. Literally.
  • Convenient Slow Dance: Michael tries to pull this trope. It doesn't go as he expects.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Rory.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Played with. Both Michael and Rory are in care homes despite having their fathers still around. Rory's is an alcoholic and unable to cope with looking after his son. Michael's is a politician - and is likely too busy to take care of him.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Michael gets one when Siobhan gives him a sponge bath. Put bluntly by Rory
    "Did you get a hard on?"
  • Decoy Protagonist: The American title would suggest Rory is the main character. He isn't.
  • Dialogue Reversal: In one of the most tearjerking and heartwarming ways:
    Rory: While dying in hospital Rory O'Shea was here.
    Michael: (pointing to his heart) Rory O'Shea is here.
  • Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Averted to the dismay of some.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Subverted. Michael hopes that he would become this to Siobhan, but she doesn't reciprocate his feelings.
  • Disabled Snarker: Rory.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The care home seems to be a combination metaphor of a strict boarding school and a prison.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Michael starts to style his hair once he leaves the care home.
  • Fake Irish: None of the three principal actors are Irish. Not that You would know, though.
  • Foreshadowing: The ending throughout the movie.
  • Genius Bonus: People who are familiar with Duchenne muscular dystrophy will see the birthday scene in a different light.
  • Handicapped Badass: Not physically, but Rory does have a very sharp tongue. He also does attempt to get into a bar fight early on in the movie.
  • Hospital Hottie: Siobhan dons a nurse costume for a party.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Michael to Siobhan. Rory as well to a much more limited extent - they just flirt a little.
  • I Just Want To Be Free: Rory doesn't want to live in the residential home anymore, which he often compares to a prison. On a less literal level it also ties in with the below.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Both protagonists. Rory even more so.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Rory arrives at the care home with an impressive head of intricate spikes - quite a feat for a guy that can only move his index finger. But subverted when he gets a bath and the nurses refuse to spike it for him. Notably when he gets Michael to do it, it's a less elaborate style.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Subverted. Michael is a borderline Deadpan Snarker and has a sneaky sense of humour. Most notably when trying to convince the council to let him live outside the care home, he just paraphrases their pamphlet.
  • Let's Just Be Friends: Michael and Siobhan remain on good terms after Rory's death.
  • Love Triangle: Defied.
  • Missing Mom: Michael's mother is dead and Rory's isn't around.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Rory during his "that's what I call a gift" speech.
  • Parental Abandonment: Michael's father doesn't acknowledge his handicapped son. Until he faces him with his new friend and ne self-confidence that is.
  • Positive Discrimination: Deconstructed.
  • Raging Stiffie: Michael gets one while Siobhan is washing him.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Rory again.
  • Spiky Hair: Rory's style of hair and clothing immediately sets him apart from the other inhabitants of the Home.
  • Title Drop: Played with since Inside I'm Dancing is the original title. The American title was likely taken from the quote from Rory.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: A non-romantic version with Rory and Michael's friendship.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The first time we see Rory he's being loaded out of the van doors which have a very cagelike appearance.
  • You Are Too Late: Rory doesn't live to learn that Michael has gained him his Independent Living Allowance.

Alternative Title(s):

Inside Im Dancing