Directed by Tim Mielants from a script by Enda Walsh, the film will have its world premiere in the festival’s competition on Feb. 15. Based on the book of the same name by Claire Keegan, “Small Things Like These” “reveals truths about Ireland’s Magdalen laundries – horrific asylums run by Roman Catholic institutions from the 1820s until 1996, ostensibly to reform ‘fallen young women,’” according to its synopsis. Keegan previously penned “Foster,” which was adapted into the Oscar-nominated Irish-language film “The Quiet Girl.”
Eileen Walsh, Michelle Fairley and Emily Watson also star in “Small Things Like These.” Murphy plays devoted father and coal merchant Bill Furlong, who during Christmas 1985 “discovers startling secrets kept by the convent in his town, along with some shocking truths of his own,” as a press release states.
Murphy also produced the film alongside Alan Moloney for their banner Big Things Films with Catherine Magee. Matt Damon and Drew Vinton also produce, and executive producers include Ben Affleck, Kevin Halloran and Michael Joe for Artists Equity. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales. The film was financed by Artists Equity and Screen Ireland/Fís Éireann and co-produced in Belgium by Wilder Content.
Murphy is on a hot streak right now as his performance in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” continues to rack up awards buzz. He recently won the Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture drama and has also been nominated for a SAG Award.
“With ‘Small Things Like These,’ Tim Mielants tells the story of a man of few words, with wide open eyes, as clear as the skies of Ireland. In ‘The Quiet Girl’ we already had sense of Claire Keegan’s skill in portraying small, apparently simple characters and making them unforgettable; here her delicate, rich and yet down-to-earth writing finds a great interpreter in Cillian Murphy,” Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian said in a statement. “We are confident that this story that allies the kindness to be directed to the more fragile, and the willpower to stand up against injustice, will resonate with everyone. We are looking forward to launching this ‘quiet’ yet quite exceptional film at the start of Zeitgeist Irland 24, a year-long celebration of Irish culture in Germany.”