Well-meaning romance lacks the luck of the Irish
I was looking forward to “Finding You,” which is a young love story about two Americans from different worlds traveling to Ireland. For two reasons: one being that I’m of Irish decent, and the other being that I’ve traveled to the country a few years ago. Usually, these movies would provide some charm and sweetness inside the narrative and their characters, but this one seems flimsy.
There are moments of whimsical and nice intentions, while the rest of the movie has to rely on goofy characters and it’s routine drama. While watching this film, I was reminded of two better movies of its kind-both set in different countries-and they would be “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn and “Notting Hill” with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. “Finding You” has two new faces: Rose Reid and Jedidiah Goodacre, who both shine when they express their characters, but have to rely on its typical and predictable cliches to keep things rolling.
As the film begins, an aspiring violinist named Finley Sinclair (Reid) travels from New York to Dublin, Ireland for a 4-month semester at school. She shares a first class flight with the famous Beckett Rush (Goodacre), who is filming the fourth chapter of a “Game of Thrones” type franchise. She’s staying with a family-the same on her deceased brother lived with-who just opened a B&B with Beckett crashing there to avoid publicity.
During their stay, he mispronounces her name as Francis or Frankie, while she constantly rebuffs him to focus on her music goal. But eventually she warms up to him as he gives her a tour of Ireland. She helps him run his lines, while he helps her find a cross her brother sketched. He’s envy that she got to live normal life, while he had a movie career to deal with.
They both say they can’t fall in love-because they’re two different people and it wouldn’t work-but who are they fooling? Let the kissing and playtime begin. Of course, they can’t let the public know about their chemistry, and two of the characters he can’t disappoint are his father and manager (Tom Everett Scott) and co-star (Katherine McNamara).
On the side, Finley has to spend time with a grouchy old woman named Cathleen Sweeney (Vanessa Redgrave) as part of her Irish studies class assignment. At first, she tells her to leave, but Finley still sticks around, and wants to find Cathleen’s estranged sister (Helen Roche) before her time is up.
“Finding You” is a movie that starts off formulaic, picks up in the middle, and ends up being sappy and predictable towards the end. The two leads are both well-meaning, and they might have futures ahead of them, if they choose their next roles carefully. And the supporting work from Redgrave and Scott are respectively likable for their characters’ own perspectives, one losing her love and the other not understanding the difference between a father and a manager. But their stories are written with negatively and cynicism by writer/director Brian Baugh.
The Irish family the main heroine lives with consists of the father (Ciaran McMahon) who has never heard of oven mitts, the mother (Fiona Bell) who is routine, and the daughter (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) who has a high crush on Beckett. All of them are bland and underwritten, but the one townsfolk who does earn our interests is the fiddle player Seamus (Patrick Bergin), who teaches Finley a note or two.
Parts of “Finding You” made me feel good, while the other parts lacked the luck of the Irish. It should have been more original and lively, instead of taking us to familiar territories.