The Secret of Roan Inish
The Secret of Roan Inish (1995)

In this family film, set in Ireland, ten-year-old Fiona is sent to Donegal to live with her grandparents. On the nearby island of Roan Inish, she spies a wild child. Fiona believes that the child is her long-lost brother, who mysteriously… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: February 3, 1995
DVD Release Date: July 25, 2000
Add Your Rating
Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
User Score

Available Online

Critic Score: 98% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: The Secret of Roan Inish is a gentle fairy tale filled with optimism that's suitable for the whole family.

Bruce Diones
New Yorker

The rhythms are placid and the camerawork (by Haskell Wexler) is simple and unfussy. The film's a charm.

Full review…
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

This is all rather low-key and uninsistent, but the settings are gorgeous, and Haskell Wexler's cinematography makes the most of them.

Full review…
Josh Larsen

...a story about storytelling, and how folk tales and real life can intermingle.

Full review…
Dennis Harvey

John Sayles' latest marks his entry into family-pic terrain, a crossing that draws pleasant but unexciting results.

Full review…
Geoff Andrew
Time Out

Tales within tales, a subtle sense of economic and social realities, fine landscape photography and strong performances make for an engrossing, unusual fantasy.

Full review…
TV Guide

It's family entertainment in the best sense of the term.

Full review…
Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter

Moving from passion fish to mystical seals, versatile filmmaker John Sayles' latest is a first-rate, all-ages fairy tale steeped in Irish folklore.

Stephen Holden
New York Times

One of Mr. Sayles's artistic strengths (and commercial liabilities) is his refusal to make movies that knock you over the head with larger-than-life characters and emotions.

Emanuel Levy

One of his most accomplished movies, this is Sayles' corrective fable to a genre thas has favored male protags, exploring another outsider character, a young girl alone in the world.

Full review…
More reviews for The Secret of Roan Inish

Flixster Audience Score: 87% Flixster User Reviews
familiar stranger
The (uninteresting & very much avoidable) Secret of Roan Inish
Stella Dallas
a magical film for all ages :)
Ken Stachnik
If I was a twelve year old girl this film would rock my world. Because I mean dude, SEALS! Also the beautiful cinematography by Haskell Wexler is there to be… More
Cindy I
A fantasy about a little Irish girl who hears tales that her missing little brother may be being cared for by magical sea creatures called selkies. The Celtic… More
Wahida K
A beautiful tale makes you want to believe in Magic.
Lanning : )
Mahalo nui loa, Bookbat, this was a great recommendation. A magically quiet masterpiece of storytelling by John Sayles, who also gave us, amazingly, LONE STAR.… More