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All Things Bright and Beautiful

Similar in theme to the 1961 Bryan Forbes film "Whistle Down the Wind," "All Things Bright and Beautiful" is a gentle, modestly affecting, dramatic comedy set in a small Irish village in 1954, about a 10-year-old boy who claims to have witnessed a miracle. This may be just too slight for much theatrical exposure, but TV and vid sales are definitely indicated.

With:
Barry O'Neill ... Ciaran Fitzgerald Father McAteer ... Tom Wilkinson Tommy O'Neill ... Kevin McNally Maeve O'Neill ... Gabrielle Reidy Eileen O'Neill ... Lorraine Pilkington The Good Thief ... Gabriel Byrne

Similar in theme to the 1961 Bryan Forbes film “Whistle Down the Wind,” “All Things Bright and Beautiful” is a gentle, modestly affecting, dramatic comedy set in a small Irish village in 1954, about a 10-year-old boy who claims to have witnessed a miracle. This may be just too slight for much theatrical exposure, but TV and vid sales are definitely indicated.

Pic’s chief assets are the convincing setting of a tiny backwater in conservative times, and the lead performance of Ciaran Fitzgerald as the bright young Barry.

A choirboy at the local church, Barry has fallen under the influence of the priest, Father McAteer (Tom Wilkinson). When Barry stumbles across a fugitive IRA man in a barn, he takes him to be Barabbas, the criminal from the Christ story. The gullible McAteer drags the boy to the church, where the lad claims to hear the Virgin speak to him.

Convinced that a 10-year-old wouldn’t know the words Barry uses, McAteer is determined that a miracle has occurred. Writer/director Barry Devlin might have made more out of this material but is content to keep his story simple. This diminishes the potential drama, but even so, “All Things” is a pleasurable, if very modest, film.

The children are natural and unaffected, production design and costumes are fine, and the use of period songs for children on the soundtrack (Danny Kaye sings “The Ugly Duckling”) is charming. Other production values are adequate.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

(BRITISH-IRISH)

Production: A BBC Enterprises presentation, in association with Bord Scannan Na H'Eireann and RTE, of a Good Film Co. production. (International sales: The Sales Co., London.) Produced by Katy McGuinness. Executive producers, Robert Cooper, Paul McGuinness, Mark Shivas. Directed, written by Barry Devlin.

Crew: Camera (color), Declan Quinn; editor, Maurice Hely; production design, Grant Hicks; costumes, Lindy Hemming; sound (Dolby), Godfrey Kirby; line producer, Donna Grey; associate producer, Michael Garland; assistant director, Ian Madden; casting, John and Ros Hubbard. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 16, 1994. Running time:90 MIN.

With: Barry O'Neill ... Ciaran Fitzgerald Father McAteer ... Tom Wilkinson Tommy O'Neill ... Kevin McNally Maeve O'Neill ... Gabrielle Reidy Eileen O'Neill ... Lorraine Pilkington The Good Thief ... Gabriel Byrne

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