In Irish director Rebecca Daly’s subtle and brilliantly realized parable, a teenage stranger welcomed into a household in a devout Christian village gradually reveals his mysterious motives — and what seem to be magical powers.
He emerges from dense woods looking like he survived a shipwreck. He stumbles into a village, is caught inside one of the houses… and is welcomed with open arms. All his hosts are able to ascertain is that his name is Tom, he is 17, he has no family, and he has a nasty wound on his side. In this devout Christian village, no one in need is turned away, but who is this outsider? What are his intentions? And why are the children convinced he has magical powers?
This third feature from Rebecca Daly (TIFF '11's The Other Side of Sleep) possesses the stark air of parable. Yet its characters, activities, and plot are too perfectly detailed to read as a one-to-one allegory about, say, isolationism, the refugee crisis, or the limits of organized religion. To be sure, Good Favour speaks to all these themes, yet it treads its own path — and every step resounds with intrigue.
As Tom, Vincent Romeo remains enigmatic while conveying anxiety, wonder, and gratitude, while Victoria Mayer shines as Maria, one of the villagers seesawing between her empathy for Tom and her fear of his impact on her community. These powerful performances are ultimately sculpted by Daly's exquisite craftsmanship, which keeps every element in ideal balance as her story moves toward its haunting coda of discovery and redemption.