Finley Sinclair is an aspiring violinist. After failing an audition for a music school in New York, she decides to follow in her late brother’s footsteps, and take a semester study-exchange in Ireland. Staying with the same host family and finding his old notebooks, Finley tries to trace what her brother felt at a time in his life when he was most happy. Meanwhile, a film is being shot in Ireland, starring teen heart-throb Beckett Rush. The two begin a romance. Thrown into the equation is a grumpy old woman who Finley visits in an aged-care facility (somehow vaguely related to her studies). Of course, Finley breaks down the anger-barrier and befriends her. Vanessa Redgrave is expectedly wonderful in the role, of Mrs Sweeney but it does seem an odd film to find her in.
Director Brian Baugh has taken Jenny B. Jones‘s young adult novel, There You’ll Find Me, and turned it into a fairly standard teen love story. Taking any obvious reference to God out of the equation, Baugh has replaced it with a general search for love and happiness. Ireland is displayed in all its expected tropes: drunken fiddle players, relentlessly green scenery, Celtic crosses at every corner, and constant singing and dancing. Rose Reid and Jedidiah Goodacre do their best with the thin material the screenplay gives them. Derry Girls star Saoirse-Monica Jackson is the comic turn as Emma, the host family’s quirky teen daughter.
The story follows a predictable arc, but still manages to maintain interest, especially through the mystery of Mrs Sweeney and her dark past. Finley’s violin playing loosens up as she starts fiddling in the local pub. Beckett pushes back against his ambitious manager-father. Love and Ireland conquer all.
Sure to be a hit with the young teen market, Finding You is charming enough to earn its keep, without setting the cinematic world on fire. And Redgrave is worth the price of admission on her own.
Finding You opens May 13th