Dublin film starring Maggie Smith tells the stories of Irish women in the 1960’s
The film stars Maggie Smith, Laura Linney, Kathy Bates, Agnes O’Casey, and Stephen Rea and tells the stories of several Dublin women in the 1960s
By Bill Heaney
A Dublin-based film company has released its feature film starring Harry Potter legend Maggie Smith.
Irish production company ShinAwiL’s first feature film The Miracle Club is set for its Irish and UK release by Lionsgate from October 13. The film boasts a stellar cast including Dame Maggie Smith, Laura Linney and Kathy Bates and tells the story of several Dublin women in the 1960’s.
The Miracle Club has just had its Irish and UK release by Lionsgate. It was shot on location in Dublin and Wicklow last year and is supported by Screen Ireland, among other organisations.
Wicklow was the destination for Dumbarton-based St Michael’s Boys’ Guild camps in the 1950s and many of those young men who set up their tents on the Murrough will recognise many of the locations in the film.
The film is set in Ballygar, Dublin in 1968 and follows close friends Lily (Maggie Smith), Eileen (Kathy Bates), and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) who win the trip of a lifetime – a pilgrimage to Lourdes. With each woman desperately in need of a personal miracle, the trip seems like an answer to all their prayers.
But when they are joined by Chrissie (Laura Linney), returning to Dublin after decades in America, deep wounds from the past are re-opened and bitter truths exposed. As they confront one another and embrace their shared past, the group reckon with revelations that will change them forever.
Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, The Miracle Club is a heartfelt story of friendship, family, and forgiveness.
ShinAwiL CEO and founder Larry Bass said: “Now, more than ever, we need to push hard to bring Irish stories to the world, especially for the global diaspora so that they can still feel a connection to their homeland. The world created by Jimmy Smallhorn’s writing and Thaddaeus O’Sullivan’s directing delivers this in spades.”
Mr Bass also stressed on the importance of telling the stories of Irish women before the 1990s. He explained: “The role of women in Irish society has been largely airbrushed from our history until the 1990s.
“The Miracle Club not only gave us an opportunity to tell the stories and experiences of Irish women in the 1960’s, but to also represent the voice of women from working class Dublin.”
He further said: “We were passionate about making a film with an ensemble female cast at its heart. When Maggie, Kathy and Laura joined the film they elevated the story and the internal conflict of the characters to a whole other level, beautifully portraying the complexities of the character’s internal struggles and their interpersonal relationships.”
The production company chief also said it was “a privilege” to make a film set in the home city of the company. “Dublin, like most cities, has become very modern.
“Often the philosophy and humour of the local people gets sacrificed for prosperity as older communities move on. We are passionate about making more films in Dublin that saves our stories of older Dublin for posterity.”
The film previously had its world-wide premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York and was released by Sony Pictures Classics across 677 theatres in the US on July 14, 2023. It had its Dublin premiere in Thursday, October 5 which was in aid of The Mater Hospital Foundation.
As one of Ireland’s leading production companies, ShinAwiL expanded its offering to include a drama division in 2017, having previously specialised in entertainment and factual entertainment output, such as the much-loved Dancing with the Stars Ireland. Other scripted projects include six-part crime drama Clean Sweep, period drama Miss Scarlet and the Duke, and upcoming co-production with Sepia Films Canada on Cry From The Sea starring Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Sarah Bolger and Aidan Quinn.
St Michael’s BG boys pictured in Wicklow around 1957. Brucehill man Jimmy Moran, who played for Vale of Leven in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park in 1953, is back row left.