I Used To Live Here

RTÉ Guide - - Film Planner -

(2014) 12.05pm, Sun­day, RTÉ 2

“It’s bet­ter to be quiet than to say something stupid”

Frank Berry’s su­perb de­but fea­ture is a ction­alised ac­count of a very real prob­lem: the is­sue of sui­cide clus­ters that can de­velop within a group of young peo­ple from the same peer group (no­tably on Face­book) or within the one com­mu­nity. In this case, the com­mu­nity is Kil­li­nar­den in Tal­laght, from where the di­rec­tor as­sem­bled his mostly non pro­fes­sional cast.

The story fo­cuses on 13-year-old Amy (Jor­danne Jones), a school­girl cop­ing with is­sues a ect­ing all young teens (school, spots, boys) but also deal­ing with par­tic­u­lar is­sues of her own. These in­clude the death of her mother three years pre­vi­ously and the reap­pear­ance of her father’s ex girl­friend, com­plete with a young baby in tow. Her out­look on life takes on a darker tone when a lo­cal boy of her ac­quain­tance takes his own life. Filmed in Kil­la­nar­den on a bud­get that would scarcely cover a TV ad, I Used To Live Here is a pow­er­ful, poignant and im­por­tant drama. Rather than fo­cus (as would be the norm in such dra­mas) on the af­ter­math of sui­cide, the movie looks at the con­di­tions that lead up to such an act, con­di­tions which many are un­able to recog­nise un­til it is too late.

In choos­ing his mostly am­a­teur cast, Frank Berry struck gold. Young Jor­danne Jones in par­tic­u­lar is a rev­e­la­tion. The en­tire lm rests on her slen­der shoul­ders but she car­ries the bur­den with ease. No won­der she con­tin­ues to have a ne act­ing ca­reer. Also im­pres­sive are James Kelly as her un­der­stand­ing but over­bur­dened father, and young Dafhyd Flynn (so good in the di­rec­tor’s next drama, Michael Inside) as a school pal who is deal­ing with his own stresses. The movie in­dus­try has a lot to an­swer for when it comes to por­tray­ing is­sues of men­tal health on screen. Movies such as I Used to Live Here prove you can make thought­ful, pow­er­ful drama with­out hav­ing to re­sort to ill-ad­vised neg­a­tive stereo­types. And for that, Frank Berry and his cast de­serve great credit.

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