One late night I stumbled across this movie featuring James McAvoy as an Irish, twenty-something punk in a wheelchair with a sassy mouth and grin. This promised to be quite a nice experience as I had already known him from State of Play (2003) and had browsed through the most prominent clips on Youtube to get an idea of his range.
Little did I know, that I would cry my eyes and heart out over McAvoy’s character of Rory O’Shea… and not regretting it a bit.
Rory O’Shea (James McAvoy), a young man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy moves into Carrigmore Residential Home of the Disabled – and hates it. He would rather live on his own and despises the uptight environment of the facility. His foul mouth and fast speak gets him scornful looks from the caregivers, but attracts the attention of another young man at the home Michael Connolly (Steven Robertson), who has cerebral palsy, which causes a heavy speech impairment.
As Rory is one of the few, and the only one at the home, who understands Michael, they slowly become friends.
This includes sneaking away from a home-organized trip to go to a pub and spend the money they had collected for “the needs of the disabled” on beer for themselves and some girls they chat up.
Things turn around once the two friends manage to move out of the home into their own flat and now have to deal with their new-found freedom and the responsibility that goes along with it.
Now what I really like about the move that it portrays the small ups and big downs that life has to offer and how having one – or several beers – at a pub and a kiss can outweigh the burden of being bound to wheelchair. It’s the small things that keep us going and the big things that knock us out flat.
Of course there are difficulties in life, of course sometimes you have to struggle with bigger than life problems like a terminally illness, a disability or an inability to be heard – in one way or another. And yes, it sometimes seems unfair that everybody else seems to have it easier than you.
Ho! Did you see that, Michael?
That was life passing you by. – Rory O’Shea
But you can work around that, you can get that little glimpse of happiness, you CAN get that moment of luck, you can make it your own.
You just have to stop listening to people who tell you what you’re not able to do, who try to keep your small and stop you from living up to your own potential.
And the other thing I really love about the movie is the interaction between Rory and Michael. They’re so engaging and appealing together that it’s hard to tell if there truly is one main character, one hero of the story. They both have their moments when their the sidekick and other moments when their the hero of their own journey. That might be because the role of Rory is so strong, or maybe it was intentionally.
I want to believe the latter, because than there’s possibility to take this movie apart and study it until I am able to do just the same thing to some of my characters and stories and make them one hell of a beautiful item – just like Inside I’m Dancing!