Twice Shy, the second feature film from Tipperary native Tom Ryan, is a touching coming-of-age drama that centres on the relationship between a young couple and how that relationship has a ripple effect on the lives of those closest to them.
Maggie and Andy are two young kids about to make the transitional leap from school to college, setting out for the first time on their own paths in life and trying not to focus too much on the pressure that brings with it. Their story unfolds through flashbacks, delicate little windows into their recent past as we piece together snippets of how things have unfolded for them. Hanging precariously over them, however, is the weight of an unplanned pregnancy and a sorrowful family history that threaten to shatter their blossoming feelings for each other.
While the narrative itself couldn’t be more timely, it’s the way in which the carousel of relationships that exist around the lives of Andy and Maggie connect as a whole that lends an air of noble honesty to the whole film. It’s a rare treat to watch characters so nakedly unvarnished interact and play out a story that is identifiable and genuine while dealing with the emotional impact of such weighty issues as abortion and depression. Credit must go to Ryan and his wonderful supporting cast for cramming the short runtime with such memorable performances.
At the heart of the movie are Andy and Maggie and the film simply wouldn’t work without the natural chemistry between them. There’s a tender naivety to the way that their feelings develop; an innocence and charm about how they view life and the potential it holds at the beginning of the journey. They mature organically as the story progresses and both of them visibly grow into the roles as their story plays out. Shane Murray-Corcoran lends a likeable awkwardness to Andy while Iseult Casey bears the burden of her pregnancy with a melancholic grace in a debut role that marks her as another burgeoning Irish talent to watch.
For those looking for something heartfelt and poignant, Twice Shy is an affectionate low-key drama that touches all the right notes without ever resorting to over sentimentality. Don’t be put off by the mournful subject matter as the story that it’s built around is an altogether more sensitive affair. Maggie and Andy’s journey is at times fractious and rough but it’s a journey absolutely worth taking.