Set in an Irish coastal village, Finding You follows young violinist Finley Sinclair (Rose Reid) who, after hitting a creative wall within her music, opts to travel abroad to a quiet Irish coastal village for a semester of study. Staying at a local bed and breakfast and working with the elderly, Finley settles in to get a fresh start and clear her head. However, all of her plans are turned upside down when she encounters Beckett Rush (Jedidiah Goodacre), a handsome young actor who happens to be in town to film another instalment of his immensely popular dragon film franchise. Though they seem an unlikely couple, a relationship sparks between the two of them and they challenge each other to look into themselves to find something (or someone) new.
Written and directed by Brian Baugh, Finding You manages to find its way to entertain the viewer. Featuring a noble prince, romance and lush countryside, the film does feel a little like a modern fairytale. While the plot is fairly straightforward for a young romance, the film manages to charm due to the strength of its cast, especially young Rose Reid and Jedidiah Goodacre. As teen heartthrob Beckett Rush, Goodacre brings all the charm and energy necessary to make him the lovable (but misunderstood) ‘bad boy’. His energy is counterbalanced by the more grounded performance by Reid and the two have some lovely chemistry together onscreen. It’s also worth noting that one of the brightest stars in the film is Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Derry Girls) who bounces around onscreen with endless enthusiasm. Though not a main character, Jackson often steals the scenes that she’s in with charisma and glee.
Set in the stunning Irish countryside, Baugh makes good use of his surroundings. Although the music, architecture and landscapes are used merely as visuals, Ireland almost becomes a character itself within the film (as it often does). Whenever it’s featured onscreen, there’s something mythical about Ireland’s lush green spaces that adds to the romantic atmosphere. There is such charm to the location that the sweeping nature of the landscapes (almost) covers any moments where the story may be lacking. (In fact, the locale even almost justifies the price of admission to see onscreen itself.)
Interestingly, the film does offer a bit of a commentary on the nature of celebrity. As one of the world’s leading stars, Beckett finds it difficult to go anywhere without being noticed. While this is hardly new, what is unique is the frustration that he feels with his career. Unfulfilled by being recognized as the leading man of ‘those dragon movies’, Beckett cares less about the big dollars and wants to have his life back. Held under contract by his father (Tom Everett Scott), Beckett wants to regain some control over his life once again. (In some ways, Beckett’s journey feels similar to that of Robert Pattinson who was once known only for the Twilight franchise and moved into the independent scene as he grew older.) Here, the film highlights the side of celebrity that many do not understand—having to live under the expectations of others. For Beckett, he is constantly under pressure to conform to an image that seems merely for the benefit of his fans. As a result, he has lost his sense of self and yearns for something simpler.
In this way, Finding You becomes a coming-of-age tale disguised as a romance. Though the relationship between Finley and Beckett drives the narrative, the most compelling journey that they both take is growing into themselves. As their interest in each other increases, the two challenge one another to process the issues that hold them back from… well… finding themselves. As Beckett struggles to live up to his father’s expectations, so too does Finley have difficulty living up to her own. Though she has incredible technical skill, her music suffers due to her inability to bear her soul when she plays. (“It doesn’t matter what the notes are but how you play them,” she’s told.) However, as the two become closer, they are able to challenge one another into standing up against their fear and step into their lives with renewed passion and vigour.
Fun and somewhat fanciful, Finding You mostly works. Though there is little new in terms of story, the character and Irish setting create a sense of whimsy that blankets the film. In the end, Finding You manages to charm the viewer enough to feel like this is a trip worth taking in the end.
To hear our conversation with star Rose Reid, click here.
Finding You is available in theatres on Friday, May 14th, 2021.