This 2004 drama by Damien O’Donnell (East is East) 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 (Garai) 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.
- Bait-and-Switch: This little bit of dialogue from Rory and SiobhanSiobhan: Were you born like this?Rory: Like what?Siobhan: Dodgy hair and shit taste in music.
- Better as Friends: Siobhan rebuffs Michael's advances but she is implied to remain his interpreter and they'll be on good terms.
- Bitch Alert: Eileen, "we don't give out front door keys", "we don't allow coarse language here".
- Bittersweet Ending: Prepare your tissues. Michael makes a pass at Siobhan but she rebuffs him, not being interested. Rory later dies of his condition, though Michael convinces the council to grant him independent living just so he can die free. The end implies that Michael will try to live a full life, and he and Siobhan will at least remain friends.
- Bumbling Dad: Rory's dad, who has him in care homes simply because he's unable to cope.
- Bury Your Disabled: Type 1. Rory's death is foreshadowed with the birthday scene, and he passes away towards the end.
- Can't Spit It Out: Michael. Literally.
- Chekhov's Gun: Michael is seen helping teach Siobhan how to understand him. She takes over as his interpreter after Rory dies.
- Convenient Slow Dance: Michael tries to pull this trope. It doesn't go as he expects.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Rory drops a few, prompting Eileen in the care home to reprimand him as if he were a child in school.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Dublin Skanger: Rory has the thick accent and abrasive attitude down to a tee. Also tries to pick a fight knowing the other guy won't hit a man in a wheelchair.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Michael starts to style his hair once he leaves the care home.
- Foreshadowing: The ending throughout the movie.
- 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..
- 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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Michael appears to be a Morality Pet that brings out Rory's heart of gold, and he seems to view Siobhan in similar light.
- Let's Just Be Friends: Michael and Siobhan remain on good terms after Rory's death.
- Love Triangle: Defied. Siobhan isn't interested in either Rory or Michael.
- Missing Mom: Michael's mother is dead and Rory's isn't around.
- Naughty Nurse Outfit: Siobhan dons a nurse costume for a party
- O.O.C. 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.
- Raging Stiffie: Michael gets one when Siobhan gives him a sponge bath. Put bluntly by Rory"Did you get a hard on?"
- 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.
- You Are Too Late: Rory doesn't live to learn that Michael has gained him his Independent Living Allowance.