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Film review: You’re Ugly Too – wayward tween connects with ex-con uncle in low-key Irish drama

Strong performances and evocative locations and score in this smartly written buddy film

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2016, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2016, 5:48pm

A wayward tween and her ex-con uncle form an unlikely duo in Mark Noonan’s low-key drama, set in a remote part of Ireland’s Midlands Region.

After her mother dies, 11-year-old Stacey (Lauren Kinsella) is sent to live with her uncle, Will (Game of Thrones’ Aiden Gillen), who has been newly released from prison on compassionate grounds. Moving into a dingy caravan park, the pair struggle to adjust to their new life together, while both harbour dark, unspoken secrets from the past.

What could have been a Gaelic reinterpretation of Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon (1973) instead seems determined not to sensationalise the scenario by having either character’s life derail too seriously. Stacey suffers from stress-induced narcolepsy, while Will toys with embarking on a romance with a married neighbour (Erika Sainte), but otherwise precious little threat emerges.

While both central performances are strong and even likeable, neither character tests the boundaries of their loyalty, nor strays too far from their path of reformation to make for an intriguing dramatic journey.

Tom Comerford’s muted cinematography finds a rugged beauty in such an unglamorous region of the Irish countryside, while David Geraghty’s evocative score is perhaps the film’s artistic standout. Otherwise, however, You’re Ugly Too just isn’t ugly enough.

You’re Ugly Too opens on March 17