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Universal Focus
Official Site
Director: John Carney
Producers: Ed Guiney, Arthur Lappin, Jim Sheridan
Written by: John Carney, Daniel James
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Jonathan Jackson, Tricia Vessey, Stephen Rea, Christopher Lori, Gerard McSorley

Rating: out of 5

Produced by Jim Sheridan (IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE BOXER), the Dublin we are shown here is so bleak and overcast, you can practically feel the cold seeping in on the damp air. Jonathan (Murphy) has just survived a spectacularly unsuccessful suicide attempt shortly after his father’s funeral. However, since the car he drove over a cliff was stolen, he is given the choice of time in jail or time in a psychiatric institution—in other words, little choice.

Initially Jonathan spends his time in verbal sparring matches with his counselor (Rea). However, he gradually becomes friends with two other suicidal teens: Toby (Jackson), a sensitive young man who is trying to deal with the loss of his brother, and Rachel (Vessey), a young woman who is afraid to love again after losing the one person she loved the most. And as his friends slowly reveal their inner anguishes to him, Jonathan learns to accept his own emotions and embrace life.

Full of gentle humor and compassion for these young souls who are trying to learn to deal with great sadness and loss, ON THE EDGE tells a simple, some might say predictable tale. But what made this movie come alive for me were the honest and moving performances given by its three leads. The only negative thing about this movie was the too obvious teen pop soundtrack which I found distracting.

You wouldn’t think that a movie about suicidal Irish teenagers could be uplifting, but I left the theatre revitalized after seeing this gem of a movie. My only regret was realizing that probably very few others will see this life-affirming movie due to almost non-existent marketing.

—Sandhya Shardanand

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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