Director Bruce Beresford is going back to the treacle pool that won him a hatful of Oscars for 1989's Driving Miss Daisy. This time around, though, he nearly falls into it and drowns.
To be fair, this drama is more bland than bad, though there are more Oirish clichés than you can shake a pint of Guinness at. The setting is '50s Dublin, and our eponymous heroine (engagingly played by Sophie Vavasseur) is the daughter of jobless Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan), who loses custody of the tot and her two brothers when wifey leaves home. Events dawdle along to an inevitable courtroom climax that tugs messily at the heart-strings.
One of the film's producers and a child of '50s Ireland, Brosnan clearly cares about the story. It's ironic, then, that it's his presence that undermines much of the film's authenticity, making it hard to care about the characters. Looking more dapper than desperate, he simply can't escape the shadow of Mr Bond (even Julianna ER Margulies' dodgily accented barmaid-cum-love-interest is more believable).
Beresford must also take a share of the blame, his decision to go for pretty over gritty providing some picture-postcard views of Dublin but little else. Still, on the plus side, Pierce's pub singing is bearable, especially when accompanied by Father Ted's feck-cellent Frank Kelly on the fiddle.