A small pot of gold can be found through director Vic Sarin's adaptation of the novel A Shine of Rainbows. Sometimes you just need a good cry and this is one of those movies which is by no means complicated, yet effective for what it is.
Child actor John Bell plays bullied orphan Tomás, who is taken-in by Maire (Connie Nielsen) and Alec (Aidan Quinn) to a new life in the serene countryside of Corrie Island. Nielsen absolutely lights up the screen in every scene she appears as a mother who is hungry to nurture after many unsuccessful attempts to have a child of her own. She bonds beautifully with her new son Tomás, although the child fails to warm up to his new yet distant father Alec. Gradually, we see Bell transform his character from terrified to finally assured and secure, in a very impressive big screen debut. Whether it be tender moments involving him interacting with the most adorable seal in the world or him full-out in grieving, he is absolutely lovable from start to finish.
All is not sunshine and rainbows though on Corrie Island, as the adoption process cannot be completed without the necessary signing of papers. Although we know that Maire is all for it, we are never sure that Alec wants to be a father - or Tomás father in the very least. The story reaches a turning point when Maire very suddenly falls ill, jeopardizing Tomas' happy future at his new home. Quinn who just keeps getting better with age since his early days of acting in Desperately Seeking Susan, finally goes through a transition after being under-used for most of the story. Despite feeling apathetic about his character for most of the movie, one cannot help but feel empathic towards him in the end.
A Shine of Rainbows rates very high on the "Sap Meter", but in the end it is an emotionally rewarding journey. And despite the recurring mythical element seeming like a bit of a hard-sell, I cannot deny that many of the eye roll-inducing moments in the film can be overlooked begrudginly. The Freestyle Releasing/Seville Pictures film is now in Canadian limited release, although an American release date has not yet been set. Grade: A-