This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
As you can possibly guess from the title, "A Shine of Rainbows" is a feel-good movie. Hey, what's not to like about cute orphans, baby seals, sweet moms and gruff dads with hearts of gold? And rainbows? If your heart is going thumpety-thump at such a prospect, here is the movie for you.
No, I'm serious. And kids may really love it. It's too much of an emotional heart-tugger for me, but then I prefer my orphans by Dickens, where the little rascals pick pockets for a living. I'll admit one thing. I wish there were still an Ireland (or anywhere else) where a couple looking like Connie Nielsen and Aidan Quinn could live in an isolated and charming home on a high meadow overlooking the sea, operate a small family farm and make a living.
The film is set on Corrie Island, off the western coast of Ireland, and I'll grant you one thing: You can find dozens of photos of it at http://j.mp/ cnQWBU and it looks just about the way it does in the film. It is a wonderful place for small Tomas (John Bell), who has become a punching bag for bullies at the orphanage, but is swept up by the heaven-sent Maire O'Donnell (Connie Nielsen), popped aboard a ferry and carried across to this idyllic setting.
All is fine, except ... why does his new dad Alec (Aidan Quinn) glower at him so darkly? Alec confides to his wife that the boy doesn't look sturdy enough. Why didn't she pick a brawnier model? Alec is possibly in the Dickens tradition of a cruel stepfather who demands only a brisk 20-hour day of hard labor in return for the lad's bowl of gruel. Good thing Tomas is Irish. If he'd been Russian, there'd be no telling.