Director: Phil Sheerin
Screenplay: Phil Sheerin
Starring: Barry Keoghan, Emer McCourt, Janie Booth, Des McAleer
Producers: Jacob Thomas
Country: Northern Ireland
Running time: 21 minutes
BBFC Rating: 15
Death. We live in a culture where one of the most fundamental aspects of being, death, has almost become a taboo subject. It will happen to all of us and to every single person that we know, yet when it does come to someone that you love it is very hard to talk about and deal with.
This is what North is about, how a young man, Aaron, deals with the impending death of his mother. When death comes around so do people who want to try and help. Help that isn’t always that welcome as Aaron soon discovers.
Set on a rural farm somewhere in Northern Ireland we see how Aaron helps his mum by getting her to take her medication, all the while working on their farm where he has a dog for company.
However, it soon becomes clear that Aaron’s mother doesn’t have long to live and friends and family gather to, as they see it, help. While they do this we see the love that a son has for his mother come through as all he wants is to help her whilst the adults talk about other things such as what dress Aaron’s mum should wear.
As the film plays out you feel for Aaron and the pain he is going through as he not only watches his mum suffer, but is also treated like a child by the adults that have come to ‘help’ who then tell him to “to grow up”.
Although North may be only a short it film it certainly packs a punch and will leave you thinking about how short and cruel life can be sometimes. It can also mean that, when you are suffering, that you lash out at the ones you love most even though you don’t mean to.
Barry Keoghan is utterly convincing as Aaron as Emer McCourt as his mother Mary. You can feel the pain that they both feel as Mary strokes her son’s head recalling how it used to make him fall asleep as a baby. You know that she wants nothing more than to see her son grow up into a man and how he doesn’t want to let her go, even though he knows how much pain she is in.
North is a beautiful and poignant study of something we hardly ever talk about told in a subtle yet powerful way.