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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2004!
INSIDE I'M DANCING, 2004
Cast: James McAvoy, Brenda Fricker, Ruth McCabe, Alan King, Steven Robertson
When the kinetic Rory moves into his room in the Carrigmore Residential Home for the Disabled, his effect on the home is immediate. Most telling is his friendship with Michael, a young man with cerebral palsy and nearly unintelligible speech. Somehow, Rory understands Michael, and encourages him to experience life outside the confines of home.
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Combing the talents of the director from East is East (dir. Damien OíDonnell) and the screenwriter of The Constant Gardener (dir. Fernando Meirelles) comes Inside Iím Dancing (dir. Damien OíDonnell), a low budget Irish film that portrays the point of view on disabled people and does so in a positive and accurate way that not many films have managed to pull off.
The films starts of with Michel Connolly (Steven Robertson) in a residential home for the disabled, with the place looking very lifeless and no one around who canít understand his speech, since he has severe cerebal palsy that has restricted him into a wheelchair and canít talk properly. This all changes with the arrival of the rebellious and youthful Rory OíShea (James McAvoy) and wants to leave as soon as he enters the building, but with his duchenne muscular dystrophy, this isnít as easy for him as he would like to imagine. Despite the two not getting along at first, Connolly soon warms up to the new resident when itís revealed that OíShea is the first (and only) person who understands what heís saying.
With the two leading roles give brilliant performances that donít feel insulting or inaccurate, they make the characters feel very human and itís not surprising that theyíve received award winnings and nominations for their work.
This was one of the first big roles James McAvoy done before starring in Atonement (dir. Joe Wright), Wanted (dir. Timur Bekmambetov) and The Last Station (dir. Michael Hoffman) and this still remains to be one of the best roles heís ever done and probably more so than the three films listed in this sentence. McAvoy researched his characterís disability by interviewing people with the same disability and this has shown through his performance, especially with the fact that his character wants to be treated with the same respect as everyone else who are recognised as ďnormalĒ.
As for Steven Robertsonís portrayal as a man with severe cerebal palsy, he has made the character very human and makes it shine through his physical acting skills. Itís one of those performances that you canít really put your finger on since we can easily see that he is just as human in his performance as much as all the other characters in the film. Iím not sure if other people who have cerebal palsy will be offended by Robertsonís portrayal, but I thought that his performance was the best out of the entire cast list.
Iím not saying that the director and writer for this film were being lazy, itís that they didnít make the story very complicated or have a strong political message about people with disabilities either. The film is just about the friendship of two unlikely young men and that they want to be accepted and do the same things as much as the rest of society that theyíre surrounded by. With the fact that the filmmakers didnít make a big statement and didnít shoot the film in a dark fashion, this makes Inside Iím Dancing very positive in a time when society seems to still treat people who are recognised as being different in a bad way.
Overall, the film is one of the best feel good films Iíve seen from Britain in the year that it came out and is probably the only film Iíve seen that focuses on disabilities in such a positive and highly accurate way. It may not be in my top ten of the decade list it came out in, but itís a nice, simple film to watch.