“Heart-breaking and heart-warming”: Inspirational Irish Film, Sanctuary, Receives Rave Reviews

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“Heart-breaking and heart-warming”: Inspirational Irish Film, Sanctuary, Receives Rave Reviews

Sanctuary, the inspirational Irish film, directed by Len Collin, has opened to rapturous critical acclaim following its release last week. Set in a world of people with intellectual disabilities, the film has been hailed as “the most heart-breaking and heart-warming film you will see all year.”

Sanctuary is a touching and funny love story about Larry and Sophie—two people with intellectual disabilities, who long to be together in a world that does everything to keep them apart. Larry has Down Syndrome, Sophie has severe epilepsy.  The two are attracted to each other and through care worker Tom; they sneak away to a hotel room during a supervised trip to the cinema.  What do they do once they are there?  How do they express a love that dare not speak its name?  Are they aware that in Ireland they are about to break the law? 

Tara Brady of the Irish Times called the film “a must-see knockout comedy”, while another critic praised its deftly handled and nuanced presentations of its characters’ needs and desires, while also noting that it is “bone-achingly funny” and “delightfully staged.” The film is adapted by writer Christian O’Reilly from own play of the same name, which was commissioned by Galway’s Blue Teapot Company and stars Kieran Coppinger as Larry and Charlene Kelly as Sophie.

The Sunday Business Post lauded Collin’s “heartfelt examination” of the intricacies and difficulties that the intellectually disable face in expressing emotion in society, ultimately calling the film “remarkable.” The Sunday Times called Sanctuary “visually delightful, emotionally sure and morally fierce” and praised O’Reilly for a “funny and clever script.”

Sanctuary is out now in Irish cinemas and you can watch the trailer here.