Secret Child: Review
Gordon (Austin Taylor) and his mother, Cathleen (Fiona Glascott) live in North Dublin in a place called Regina Coeli, a place hidden away from the rest of society because Regina Coeli is a place where single mothers could go to raise their children. Gordon is just like any other boy of his age, curious about the world and always ready to defend his honour when faced with a fight – even if it lands him in trouble.
However, Gordon is also curious about where his father is, he often sees other children with their fathers, but his mother has never talked about his. Then one day Gordon is surprised to see his mother so enamoured by once again meeting up with an old acquaintance, Bill (Aaron McCusker) leading Gordon, and the audience, to suspect that Gordon may be his real father.
Secret Child is a bittersweet short film and directorial debut of Yew Weng Ho, based on the novel by Gordon Lewis and Andrew Crofts. Set in a time in Ireland where single mothers were frowned upon by the majority of society, Secret Child puts its audience into a time in the mid-twentieth century where everything seemed to be cheerful despite the darker secrets that people preferred not to talk about.
Although charming and heart-warming with a particular shocking scene which is certainly a sign of the times, Secret Child never judges its characters or the society as a whole, instead deciding to just show things as they were.
The nostalgic setting and the production value will easily transport the audience back to what some may consider to be a simpler time, and so for the most part it’s an easy film to watch, despite the underlying themes that we would find unacceptable today. All the cast are excellent, especially Taylor who manages to put across the cheeky charm of a boy living in a more innocent time and will certainly warm the hearts of the audience.
Secret Child may not be a particular ground-breaking or confrontational story about living in that time in Ireland, but the little hope that it brings the audience will certainly make them feel good.
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