21 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
“Working with this cast was an inspiration;” director Robbie Walsh on his tragic drama The Letters
08 Nov 2021 : News Desk
The Letters
Set against the backdrop of the Cervical Check scandal that rocked Ireland, The Letters tells the story of three women from different walks of life who have been given mere weeks to live due to the false results of their cervical cancer checks.

The film is currently enjoying a successful theatrical release at select cinemas including Odeon (Charlestown), Omni-PLex (Rathmines Dublin, Limerick, Cork), and Eye Cinema (Galway).

“The response has been very good and reviews have been great,” the films director Robbie Walsh tells IFTN. “Audiences watching get upset and angry, which I hope provokes discussions about the subject matter.”

When asked why he felt it was important for this story to be told, Walsh said that he was struck by the hardship of those affected by the scandal. “Seeing this unfold in real time, I became so scared and I didn't want it to happen to anyone again,” he explaines, “but alas, I think it may already be too late.”

The film features fantastic performances from leading actresses Mary Murray (Magdalene Sisters, Love/Hate), Kathleen Yeates (Little Women, Albert Nobbs), and IFTA nominated actress Sarah Carroll (The Limit Of), who portray the three women impacted by the false results.

Working with this cast was an inspiration,” says Walsh. “It was difficult at times because I had to remove myself and almost desensitize myself from what we were filming.”

These three female characters that the story centres around are Mary (Yeates), a woman in her 50's who is the sole carer of her elderly mum with late stage Alzheimer's; Sam (Murray), a single mother in debt and struggling to raise her four kids; and Cliona (Carroll), a single, career driven woman who rates low on the autism spectrum that results in anxiety and social awkwardness.

“I had worked with most of the cast before and those I hadn't I was very familiar with their past work,” the director explained. “Kathleen was my acting coach and I approach Sarah Carroll to be in everything I make, she'd already appeared in Eden.”

“Mary is one of the most recognisable actors in Ireland so we were very lucky to get her, but she came on board from the start,” Walsh continued. “It was an honour to have them all come on and put forward the performances they did.”

Written and directed by Robbie Walsh, the film is executive produced by Black ’47 producer Tim O’Hair. Other cast members include Aishling O'Neill (Fair City), John Connors (Cardboard Gangsters, Broken Law), Chris Newman (Red-Rock, Song For a Raggy Boy), Ann Russell (The secret rapture, Family), and Robbie Walsh (Micheal Inside, SPLIT).

Walsh says that he drew inspiration for the film from legendary filmmakers such as Goddard, Fellini, Scorsese, Loach, Meadows, and Wheatley to name a few. “Some of the more artistic shots within the film paying homage to Edgar Degas, Jacques-Louis David and Renoit,” adds Walsh.

Tickets for The Letters are still available all this week at Odeon Charlestown – click here to book.

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