The Secret of Roan Inish

1993 PG 1h 42m DVD

The Secret of Roan Inish

1993 PG 1h 42m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
When 10-year-old Fiona (Jeni Courtney) learns how her ancestors came to leave the island of the seals, Roan Inish, she discovers there may be magic afoot in her family tree, in writer-director John Sayles' (Limbo, Lone Star) fable for all ages. This Celtic fairy tale -- about folkloric, aquatic creatures that are half human and half seal -- includes breathtaking images of Ireland's coastline and full commentary by Sayles.
Jeni Courtney, Richard Sheridan, Pat Slowey, Dave Duffy, Declan Hannigan, Mairead Ni Ghallchoir, Eugene McHugh, Tony Rubini, Mick Lally, Eileen Colgan
John Sayles
Pan-and-Scan 1.33:1, Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 8+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 8+
age 8+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that some images in this film may be frightening to young children: a cradled infant boy floats into the stormy sea and disappears while birds attack two men on the shore, preventing them from rescuing the baby; a "Selkie" (legendary seal) unsettlingly sheds its skin to become a woman. The opening scene takes place at the funeral of a young mother; the sound of a wailing baby intensifies the sadness. There is a startling moment when a young man suddenly stabs a knife into a table. Stories and superstitions are related throughout, some of which humanize sea creatures and sometimes make them appear threatening. Drinking takes place in local pubs. A naked toddler runs along the beach in several sequences.

Sexual Content

Not applicable.


Birds attack two men while another bird pushes a baby in a cradle into the sea. The floating cradle is lost at sea in a fierce storm. A character suddenly stabs a knife into a table top in a moment of great anger.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

Two big messages resonate: That humans and creatures in the animal world are dependent upon one another and deserve to be treated with mutual respect, and that the legacy of the past, combined with faith and tenacity, can result in miraculous discovery.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Men seen drinking in a pub. Possibly drunk patron with beer in hand asks that his daughter be taken to live with her grandparents. Mention made of pub drinking on several occasions.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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