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A Greyhound Of A Girl (2023)

Animated features produced outside the Hollywood system can't compete with the budgets or resources of major studios. To compensate, many international features are often co-produced by studios in several different countries. A Greyhound Of A Girl may be considered to be an Irish film, produced by Jam Media. But in reality, it's a co-production with seven different European countries. It's produced by studios in Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Latvia, Germany, Estonia and the United Kingdom.

The film is based on a novel written by acclaimed Irish author Roddy Doyle (The Commitments) and is directed by Enzio D'Alo. The screenplay is by D'Alo and Dave Ingham. It is produced by Paul Thiltges,  Adrien Chef,  Mark Cumberton, Xenia Douglas and Sean Feeney.  It features the voices of Sharon Horgan, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Infussi D'Amico, Mia O'Connor, Maricla Affatato and Kate Perry. The film is released in UK and Irish cinemas on June 28, 2024.

The story follows eleven-year-old Mary, a spirited child with a desire to become a great chef. But when she is turned away by a pair of local culinary experts, she is given a second chance to try and impress them. When her beloved grandmother falls ill, a car journey featuring four generations of women takes on an extra special significance.

As a heroine, Mary is easy to warm so. She's so spunky and independent that you'll be on her side from the very beginning. Her first appearance, which sees her talking back to the snooty culinary school judges, is a brilliant introduction. It also introduces us to Granny (Emer) who is similarly full of spunk- let's just say it's pretty obvious where Mary gets it from. The relationship between Mary and Emer is the very heart of the film. It's very sweet and believably depicted- it will surely remind viewers of their relationship with their own beloved grandparents. In fact, the way the whole of Mary's family is depicted with warmth and has a real authenticity to it.  Mary's relationship with her mother, Scarlet is also equally important. It's a sweet relationship, but Mary is also on occasion quite cheeky. ("I'm not, I'm just being honest", she insists).

It's because the family is so well depicted and the family relationships so fully realised that later plot developments have the effect that they do.

Visually the film is quite the treat. The characters, designed by Peter De Seve are distinctive and well drawn. The backgrounds are beautifully painted, particularly when depicting the famously lush Irish countryside. It does a grand job of depicting Irish life in general, but there's also a universality in its depiction of family life.

A couple of times during the film, the animation style changes radically. During fantasy/dream sequences it takes on a simplistic hand-drawn style or an elaborate pencil drawn sequence that is shown from a first-person perspective.

A Greyhound Of A Girl may be aimed at children but it depicts some quite mature themes. It covers loss, grief and their effects on family dynamics. It also attempts to show its young audience that death is a normal part of life.

The story begins to take on a supernatural element as it goes on, which ultimately pays off in a beautifully done, life-affirming climax. For the most part though it's a well executed coming-of-age story with a twist. There's nothing overly flashy or extravagant about this film, but don't let that put you off. Catch this greyhound if you can.



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