Hazel Doupe gives a charismatic, star-making performance in Carmel Winters’ second feature, a triumphant coming-of-age tale set in Ireland’s travelling community during the 1960s.
Frances (Doupe) is a born fighter who idolises Muhammad Ali. She is ready to defend herself against the many blows that life delivers, from the tragic death of her mother to having a feckless father Michael (Dara Devaney) who resents her refusal to conform to his suffocating notions of gender. According to the traditions of her traveller community, at fifteen, she is ready to be married, handing over control of her life and finances to a man who “will give you a few bob if you behave.”
A lyrical heartbreaker of a film, with a beautiful soundtrack of traditional Irish songs (the film shares producers with the similarly music-powered Once and Sing Street), Float Like a Butterfly captures humanity at its best and worst, offering a message of hope throughout.
“A gloriously unruly collision of vivid romanticism and tough, unsentimental truths about the hardscrabble lives and casual discrimination faced by Irish travellers.” – WENDY IDE, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL