Synopsis: On the coast of Cork, Syracuse is a divorced fisherman who has stopped drinking. His precocious daughter Annie has failing kidneys. One day, he finds a nearly-drowned young woman in his net; she calls herself Ondine and wants no one to see her. He puts her up in an isolated cottage that was his mother's. Annie discovers Ondine's presence and believes she is a selkie, a seal that turns human while on land. Syracuse is afraid to hope again.
Director(s): Neil Jordan
Production: Magnolia Pictures
  6 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min


Anybody out there?

I need a little help.

You're alive.


OK. All right!

You're all right.

OK, now.

You're going to live.

Can you stand? Come on.

Come on. Hold on to me.



What do you mean I'm... I'm alive?

You're on a boat. My boat.

- Why am I on your boat?

- Maybe you can tell me.

All right?

I was dead. I was sure of that.

No. But you're not.

You're alive now.

- Why? Why am I alive?

- I don't know. You were in my net.

- Net?

- Yeah. You were drowning.

You swallowed water.

You sank. Don't ask me how.

- Come on. Are you cold?

- Yes.

Come on. Hold on to me.

Get up. Get up.


Watch your step.

- Keep warm. You need a hospital.

- No!

- Why not?

- Because I'm fine.

You'll need to see a doctor.

- After a thing like that!

- No, I don't!

- I don't want to see anyone.

- Will I just disappear, then?

- I don't mind seeing you.

- You don't mind seeing me...

That's nice.

- Say again?

- Most people do.

- Well, I don't.

- Why not?

Because... you fished me from the water.

How are ya?

Jesus. You really

don't want people seeing you.

What's your name?

- I don't know.

- You lost your memory in the water?

- Maybe.

- I've heard it happens.

- Does it?

- People knock their head.

Forget the lot.

Then it all comes back suddenly, like.

What's your name?

My name's Syracuse,

but people call me Circus.


To let on, you know, that I'm a clown.

- A clown... in a circus?

- Something like that.

- I think I'll call you... Syra...

- Syracuse.

OK, then. I'm taking you to a hospital.

I've a car on the shore.


- Are you one of those asylum seekers?

- What?

You swam here from Arabia?

It's a hell of a swim.

Let me go, then.

Do you really want to drown?

- I can't die twice.

- Well, you can die once for real.

Please. I don't need a hospital.

I know a place.

Where people won't see you.

Come on.

- Whose is this place?

- It was me mam's.

- She lived here?

- On and off.

- She was a kind of... loner.

- Loner?

Bit like you.

She didn't like people much.


She was a kind of gypsy.

- Where is she now?

- She's with her Maker.

- You mean she's dead?

- Yes.

- Like me.

- You're not dead.

No. But maybe I should have been.

Here's some sandwiches.

Well, me lunch.

With all the strange fishing today,

I forgot to eat it.

Thank you.

Right, can I leave you now?

- If you have to.

- I do, yeah. Got to be somewhere.



- She's been waiting.

- I'm sorry. Something came up.

- Appointment's for six. She gets upset.

- I'll make it up to her.

How's my baby? Right.

- Bye, Mam.

- You have to f*** it up, don't you?

Yeah. It's genetic.

Right, up you get.

- Anything strange or wonderful?

- Why do you always say that?

I don't know, Annie.

It's... a kind of a wish.

- A wish?

- Yeah, that something strange...

...or wonderful might happen.

No, Da, nothing strange or wonderful.

That's good, then.

- Hello.

- How are you?

- Is Dr Hannon around?

- No, just missed him.

- I thought he was gonna be here.

- Something came up. In Cork.

- How long this time?

- Same as usual.

An hour and a half or so.

Does she have a book?

No book. Maybe I'll tell her a story.

- I'll be inside if you want me.

- All right.

Well... go on.

- Go on what?

- You said you'd tell me a story.


Once upon a time...

Does it always have

to be "Once upon a time"?

Well, it's how stories begin.

- And a very good time it was.

- Yes... It was a good time.

And it was a bad time.

- How are you feeling, love?

- Never mind about me. Go on.

Once upon a time...

there was a fisherman.

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Neil Jordan

Neil Patrick Jordan is an Irish film director, screenwriter and novelist. He won an Academy Award for The Crying Game. He also won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival for The Butcher Boy. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Ondine" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Sep. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/ondine_15229>.

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