IFTA Best Film 2019 | Float Like A Butterfly

Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos

Directed by Carmel Winters

Float Like A Butterfly is the second feature of the director and writer, Carmel Winters. The film follows 15-year-old Irish Traveller Frances (Hazel Doupe), as she fights against the tribulations of adolescence à la her inspiration, Mohammad Ali. Ten years after her mother’s death, her father (Dara Devaney) is released from jail and returns home to a tepid welcome. Grief and strife colour the reunion, as Frances’ father finds his children unrecognizable. The ensuing clash plays out against the backdrop of rural Ireland and the Traveller Community.

Doupe does an excellent job of breathing life into the story, adding a depth and authenticity that elevates the whole cast. Her performance is only undercut by the occasional lack of subtlety. Where events could warrant interpretation, a voice-over or flashback will filter in to flatten out the nuance, often undermining the acting rather than supporting it. This coupled with some predictability betrays the tension, resulting in less impact at each emotional beat.

However, the film is ultimately a story about representation. Stunning wide shots of unfettered Irish landscapes, impeccable costumes and set design, and a traditional Irish soundtrack all coalesce to capture the life of the Irish Travelling community. It is an ode to the marginalized, to the downtrodden, and to the prevailing.

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