The Nephew
directed by Eugene Brady
(Irish DreamTime, 1998)

Twenty years have passed since Karen Egan set foot upon the Irish island of her birth. Now she sends notice to her brother Tony of her illness and, only days after the town learns of her death, her only son, Chad Egan-Washington (Hill Harper), arrives to scatter his mother's ashes upon her homeland.

Chad, from New York City, is your average hip teenager, although now an orphan. His father died when he was a child. But this handsome half-Irish, half-black young man is made unwelcome by his Uncle Tony, who never understood his sister's free-spirited ways. Chad's presence in the traditional community of Inis Dara causes tension among the islanders, among whom he struggles to find acceptance and learn the answers to a lingering mystery.

Tony refuses to answer Chad's questions about his mother so he seeks answers from the locals. He's drawn to the warm temperment of Brenda O'Boyce (Sinead Cusak, from Stealing Beauty), who has some of the answers he's looking for and, at the same time, helps him to open up. Meanwhile, a deeply rooted grudge between Joe Brady (Pierce Brosnan) and Tony Egan (Donal McCann) resurfaces, sparked when Chad and Joe's daughter, Aislin (Aislin McGuckin), begin a slow romance. There are a few plot twists, comical scenes and moments that tug at your heart strings.

The Nephew is an exceptional debut for Irish director Eugene Brady, who says he wrote the script after his own alienation after finishing his master's degree at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Brosnan, also a native of Ireland, co-produced the film.

Although set on an island called Inis Dara, the movie was filmed in Wicklow, south of Dublin. The cinematography of the terrain is incredible, with the lush green hills and farming communities along winding dirt roads.

The Nephew is a beautiful story that captures the intricacies of relationships. It's a well-directed feel-good movie that aims at the many ways people seek out their personal identity. Hollywood has definitely not seen the last of Eugene Brady.

[ by Lisa Comento ]
Rambles: 11 May 2002