Love and Savagery is an admirable tale of love, passion and fate.
Savagery is an admirable tale of love, passion and fate. It has the feel of a Catherine Cookson tale, setting itself
apart from the average romantic movie with its realism and sense of uncertainty
on where the characters are headed.
In the small Catholic village of Ballyclochan, Ireland in the
late 60s, poet and geologist Michael McCarthy (Allan Hawco) arrives from Newfoundland to study the rocks in the
wild countryside. He meets
Cathleen O’Connell (Sarah Greene), a
young woman working in the local hotel café/pub and the two immediately have a strong
connection. However, it seems
their love is doomed as Cathleen is destined to become a nun and their relationship
is thrown in to turmoil.
Interestingly, Love and Savagery is set around the time of
‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland and concludes around the time this
subsided. However, it is set in the
south and does not delve in to this.
Instead, it focuses on a community trying to maintain a sense of
tradition whilst also trying to look to the future and the arrival of Michael in
the village upsets the balance.
The film examines the role of the Catholic Church with Cathleen happily
looking towards a life as a nun and the local convent taking in unmarried
pregnant girls cast out by their family.
Cathleen, who now lives with her overly protective uncle following the
death of her parents, falls for Michael against the wishes of her community and
family so becomes torn between her love for him and her pre-destined future.
Alongside a traditional and pleasing score of Celtic violin
music, Love and Savagery is bursting with striking imagery. Green landscapes, storms and crashing
waves reflect the mood, with Cathleen’s hair shifting from a neat pigtail into
a loose, black mane tumbling in the wind. Hawco’s Michael is a charming, likeable
lad while Greene’s Snow White-like Cathleen is fresh faced and sweet natured. Their strong on-screen chemistry allows
you to empathise with their plight but you never really find yourself longing
for them to be together in the same way as forbidden love stories like Brief Encounter or The Bridges of Madison County. However, this film is clearly trying to maintain the fairytale
atmosphere of say Jane Eyre whilst
trying to portray falling in love as something more real and it does achieve
this. Throughout the film you can
never quite be sure what the future holds for Michael and Cathleen.
Love and Savagery has enough romance for any fan of the genre
whilst also providing something a bit different. It never quite reaches the tempestuous heights of Romeo & Juliet or Tristan & Isolde but it is a nice
enough little tale of forbidden love.