Picture from A Shine of Rainbows
Overall A

An eight-year-old orphan named Tomas (John Bell) feels like he has found the gold at the end of the rainbow when he is adopted by Maire O'Donnell (Connie Nielsen). And even the less-than-enthusiastic support of her husband Alec (Aidan Quinn) can't tarnish his chance at happiness.

Violence B
Sexual Content B+
Profanity A
Substance Use C

MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and smoking.

A Shine of Rainbows

Life for eight-year-old Thomas (John Bell) is cold and colorless. Residing at a home for orphaned boys, the youngster is bullied by his peers and teased for his stammering voice. But the bleakness of his existence unexpectedly brightens when a fiery redhead named Marie O’Donnell (Connie Nielson) appears and tells the boy she wants to adopt him. Whisking him off to her home on Corrie Island, a remote location off the coast of Ireland, Thomas feels the warmth of her love and acceptance almost immediately.

However, his first meeting with Marie’s husband Alec (Aidan Quinn) casts a dark cloud over his new sunny prospects. Obviously displeased that his wife has chosen "the runt of the litter" and resenting the lad’s intrusion into their private relationship, the quiet man deliberately keeps his distance from Thomas. Regardless of his reaction, Marie refuses to let his disapproval rain on her relationship with the child.

Basking in the glow of her indomitable spirit, Thomas begins to grow in confidence. He makes friends at school (played by Jack Gleeson and Tara Alice Scully), overcomes his fear of the local sea creatures and some cave-dwelling bats, and embraces the island folklore Marie shares with him. Although still wary of Alec, he is even able to make a tentative connection with him when the pair finds and tries to save an abandoned seal pup.

Yet, like the elusiveness of the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, Thomas’s hopes for happiness seem beyond his grasp after an unexpected tragedy leaves him adrift in a sea of uncertainty.

Beautifully shot on location in Ireland, and convincingly acted (especially by newcomer John Bell), A Shine of Rainbows is sure to bring a tear to the eye of all who view it. Parents will want to be prepared to discuss loneliness, abandonment, death and grief. (Bringing along a supply of tissues would be a good idea too.)

Still, don’t let these heavy themes scare you off. The movie also offers messages of hope, optimism and the healing power of love. While the story does include some sentimental superstition, it still provides an endearing picture of the human experience—and the essential things all people need to grow and thrive.

See the trailer.