The Movie Waffler New to Netflix - MY SAILOR, MY LOVE | The Movie Waffler

New to Netflix - MY SAILOR, MY LOVE

New to Netflix - MY SAILOR, MY LOVE
A widowed housekeeper embarks on a romance with a retired sea captain.

Review by Blair MacBride

Directed by: Klaus Härö

Starring: James Cosmo, Bríd Brennan, Catherine Walker, Nora-Jane Noone, Tara Flynn

My Sailor, My Love poster

My Sailor, My Love is a beautiful atypical love story directed by Klaus Härö. Incidentally his first feature film in English, this sobering yet charming tale is a real credit to the talent in Finnish cinema.

The film - also written by fellow countrymen Kirsi Vikman and James Karlsson - is set in the gorgeous Achill island of the Republic of Ireland; studios must've got a memo that this is the year of coastal Irish stories for cinema - no one is complaining though. The stunning cinematography of the opening shots really does set the benchmark for the feature's duration (seriously special kudos to DOP Robert Nordstrom), as the rolling hills and vast blue seas begin to paint a picture of where this beguiling story begins.

My Sailor, My Love review

My Sailor, My Love follows a retired seafaring captain, Howard (James Cosmo). In his older age, he is perpetually annoyed with life and struggles, or more like refuses, to look after himself properly - he doesn't have the care for existing anymore. Indeed, the grumpy protagonist is a point of serious frustration in the life of his daughter, Grace (Catherine Walker), with whom he has had a tumultuous relationship over the years, to say the least. A full-time nurse with a failing marriage, Grace attempts to ease her excess burden of care by engineering a bit more structure into her aging father's life, and so hires housekeeper Annie (Brid Brennan) to get things back in order. However, when an early resentment between Howard and Annie blossoms into a delightful romance for one another, the dynamics in the small group of people begin to change, and the true colours of a threatened Grace rear their ugly head.

The ensemble cast of My Sailor, My Love is truly excellent. Cosmo is at his best as the burly, surly ex-sailor, capturing a real plethora of emotions throughout his performance; one moment the character's sarcasm is heartily funny, the next his raw sadness is incredibly moving. Moreover, just as Cosmo succeeds, so too do the others. Brennan is wonderful as the matter of fact Annie, with the older pair sharing a heart-warming on-screen chemistry, and Walker excels at portraying Grace's micromanaging of others' lives.

My Sailor, My Love review

Härö himself has admitted that this was a love affair with "the last love story of life," and it really does not disappoint in depicting this. The team of Vikman and Karlsson do an excellent job of creating a seeing eye into an untold version of love in cinema, and Härö complements the creative process exquisitely. Not only that, but the three manage to convey complex plot layers in a simple and effective manner. The feature is able to deal very well with such huge themes of life's last love and a mutually resentful Father-Daughter relationship; it really flourishes at invoking the complicated manner of our inter-human relations - and that is an utter testament to its triumphant creative trio.

The idea of a first love always seems to feature in romcoms or in coming of age pictures; but in My Sailor, My Love, we get to see a really moving and intriguing opposite end of the spectrum story - something which is emotionally challenging, but completely worth the tears. Its thought provoking nature challenges perceptions of the "aged and feeble," of the people we have written off as stubborn or lost causes.

My Sailor, My Love review

Most importantly of all, it encourages us to contemplate inwards about our own behaviour, to reflect on if we could all be just that little bit more patient; more kind; more respectful for other ways of thinking. My Sailor, My Love reminds the audience that despite us not all being in the same boat, we're all in the same storm. More often than not, we're all just trying to navigate this life, and that includes those that have lived it longest. Those older than us are still human, and still want to live and be alive for as long as they can. With a little more space and respect, who knows what happiness they might be able to foster in their twilight years.

My Sailor, My Love is on Netflix UK/ROI now.

2023 movie reviews