Skellig, film

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SkelligMichael (Bill Milner), his father (John Simm), and his pregnant mother (Kelly Macdonald) have just moved into a new home, making way for Michael’s forthcoming baby sister. While his family struggles with a premature birth, his father’s drunkenness, and his baby sister’s heart condition, Michael befriends the homeless man (played by Tim Roth) who, unbeknownst to Michael’s parents, lives in their shed. After Michael rescues the man from his father, who drunkenly sets the shed on fire, Michael and his new friend Mina (Skye Bennett) deduce that the man, called Skellig, has some kind of magical power.

Skellig (2009), known in the U.S. as Skellig: The Owl Man, is a film based on the 1998 book by the same name authored by David Almond. Inspired by the Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Skellig is about an arthritic man in a garden shed, who turns out to have enormous wings. Like Marquez’s story, this is built into a realistic environment, making it magical realism more than fantasy. It is never said for sure whether Skellig is an angel, a hybrid creature, an ancient creature, a mythical creature, or what. It’s almost like what Marquez’s story would have been if there had been some kind children around. The film is beautifully written and shot, even if it does diverge from the book at the end to get a bit sappy and Hollywoody. A good one for the whole family.

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