Worthy but somewhat dull relationship drama lifted by quality performances.
There's no big story, no complicated or compelling plot in this relationship drama from director Declan Recks. Rather, it is a simple tale of two people unable to be honest with each other and themselves about their relationship. Though set in a small town in Ireland, it could be anywhere, so universal are the characters and their situation.
Breda (Eileen Walsh) and Billy (Aidan Kelly) are married, but now it's in name only. Each is too cowardly to tell the other how they feel; Billy no longer finds himself attracted to his wife, and feels trapped in his role as husband and father, while Breda yearns for the physical and emotional intimacy she so badly needs to feel contented and whole.
While Breda looks after their children, Billy seeks to recapture his carefree bachelor days, and spends most nights out drinking with friends. He regales those who will listen with tales of long ago derring-do, and lusts after the beautiful younger women he meets in the town's bars. On their tenth wedding anniversary Breda makes a special effort to rekindle things with Billy. Though clearly reluctant, Billy joins her on a night out, their first together in a long time. Each has far different expectations from the night, however, and after things go badly awry, they are finally forced to face up to the truth of their situation.
So far so humdrum, you may think, and certainly it's not the most interesting premise for a film I've ever heard. What makes Eden worth watching, though, are the engaging, expertly-played performances from the leads and the authentic dialogue in Eugene O'Brien's screenplay. It does unfortunately take a little while to get going, and in particular Aidan Kelly's Billy is difficult to warm to or sympathise with (though as this is a man who escapes to the pub rather than face up to his fatherly responsibities, sympathy is appropriately unforthcoming). Fortunately the second half is far more compelling, and certainly rewards your perseverance.
I have analysed this film and found it to contain 3 out of a possible 5 nodules of filmy goodness.
Aiden Kelly (Billy)
Lesley Conroy (Eilish)