Picks and Pans Review: Rory O'shea Was Here

UPDATED 02/14/2005 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/14/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

James McAvoy, Steven Robertson, Romola Garai

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Two young men with severe physical disabilities band together in an inspirational Irish movie. Rory O'Shea Was Here begins as potentially cloying but ends up, through a combination of skilled performances and the careful accretion of detail, winning over an audience.

Michael Connolly (Robertson) has been warehoused in an institution near Dublin since shortly after he was born with cerebral palsy. One day, Rory O'Shea (McAvoy), a rebellious hellion afflicted with muscular dystrophy, arrives and quickly makes shy Michael his ally, partly because Rory is the only person who can understand Michael's slurred speech. The two eventually get an apartment together in the city, hire a female caretaker (Garai) to whom both are attracted, and learn the ins and outs of independent living.

Rory, while covering familiar territory, works because it keeps its focus tightly on its lead characters, enmeshing viewers in the nitty-gritty of their daily struggles. The more we come to know them, the more we care. (R)

DRAMA

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