If modern fairytales are your jam than director Randal Plunkett has a yarn to spin for you. The Green Sea centers around writer and recluse Simone (Katharine Isabelle of Ginger Snaps fame) who lives a solitary life in the Irish countryside. Throughout the course of the movie we learn that Simone use to play in a band and now spends her time writing to pay the bills. Her life…ain’t great. The house she lives in is cluttered and dirty. Her life tends to reflect the mess of her living quarters. She makes some money but mostly spends it on alcohol and fixing her car which is also a mess. All of that changes when she meets “The Kid” (Hazel Doupe). Despite Simone’s intense and often borderline abusive behavior towards “The Kid” she is allowed to stay and help out at the house.
The Kid’s presence seems to spur retrospection as we get glimpses of Simone’s past self destructive relationship. The movie picks up pace as each beat of the movie is illustrated with a title chapter. These often short vignettes help reinforce the fairy tale quality the film tends to reach for.
“The Kid” starts to find a place at the cottage and seems to be a positive influence on everything in and around the home, including on Simone herself. Reality starts to blend a bit as we get bits and pieces of Simone’s novel which seemingly has found its hero as “The Kid” starts to show up in more of the intense portions of the movie. Justin (Dermot Ward) owns the autobody shop that is fixing Simone’s ancient Jeep. He is a fan of her music and the two soon agree to go on a date. The Kid’s dreams are full of strangers with dark glasses looking for her by the sea.
Katharine Isabelle absolutely steals this movie every time she curses. Every fuck feels genuine every shit feels organic. How she approaches each tirade seems equally aggressive but also comforting and familiar. Like a family member who we know is harmless but curses like a sailor.
Small towns in Ireland are a lot like small towns in the states. During their date Simone overhears a couple of local ladies who have lots of not nice things to say about her. In typical Simone fashion she destroys the date and herself by drinking too much and trying to get her date to have sex with her in the parking lot. Its tough to watch. To complicate everything we learn she is VERY behind on her mortgage. She calls her agent for help but she is also really behind on her newest novel so here we are.
The movie takes a confusing narrative position as Simone kicks The Kid out of the house for apparently letting someone into the home the day before (it seems to be the man in the dark glasses that both now seem to be dreaming about). We learn that Simone was abusive to both her husband and her daughter and her self isolation seems to be as a result of her own violent past. The Kid remains and Simone comes clean about her house and more or less about her life.
Its in these moments of confession that both actresses really shine. The Green Sea could very well could feel like a melodrama but there is such authenticity to Isabelle’s performance and such loyalty in Doupe’s big haunting eyes that I found connection to both characters.
The two make up and all seems to be progressing and the two go out for a walk. On the walk Simone appears to get shot accidently by a group of hunters. She wakes up in a fog where the man with dark glasses appears to be scrapbooking. He tells her “The Kid” is a very special girl. The kid appears to have healed Simone from the gunshot wound.
The final act of The Green Sea really embraces the childlike whimsy that seems to always be on the peripheral of the movie. The two make a pilgrimage to the sea where other children appear and start to walk out into the ocean. The Kid and Simone hug goodbye where The Kid announces that she wants her name to be Simone as well. She heads with the other kids. The man with the dark glasses shows up and mentions to Simone that the children are a lot like baby sea turtles returning to the ocean.
In one last flashback we get the full story on what happened to Simone’s family. She was abusive to both daughter and husband. After an incident her daughter ran out in traffic and was hit and killed by a car. In the present moment Simone starts a new novel all about her experience with the kid. In the epilogue Simone opens up a package and finds a copy of her book.
Look this movie is REALLY weird, but hauntingly beautiful. Isabelle is an absolute juggernaut who manages to make an awful character both sympathetic and fun to watch. In a world where it feels like our past can haunt us The Green Sea reminds us that while our past can shape who we are now it will never define us. The Green Sea is streaming now.
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.