The children's saying about the north and the south, when you can swim in the lake in the northern part of Ireland, then in the southern state, is similar to bipolar disorder, the signs of which are present in the sisters themselves, and in their relationships. It even rhymes with the history of the country, which for several decades could not decide on its unification. Lauren alternates between shooing Kelly away and supporting her at the same time. Kelly rushes from a carefree and joyful mood to a depressive one. The sisters sometimes fight, sometimes have fun. The atmosphere of the film is similar to Mulholland Drive (2001)
in its gloominess, the girls' attempts to deal with themselves, hopeless darkness and, of course, the indissoluble connection of two sisters who are very close to each other. The chemistry between Nika McGuigan and Nora-Jane Noone works great. Perhaps McGuigan's performance could have been influenced by her fight with cancer and a premonition of death (the actress has died in 2019 after filming), which brought her closer to Kelly's feelings.
An image of a wolf is significant: the animal attacks Kelly when she returns to Northern Ireland, and then the girls see it in the dark repeatedly. Notably, their mother appears in a red coat. There is an allusion to Little Red Riding Hood. But in the context of the film, these reminiscences are deciphered differently. Wolves are associated with the Fenians — the legendary Irish warriors. The name of the Fenians was taken in the 19th century by revolutionaries who joined the ranks of the Irish Republican Army with the outbreak of the Irish Civil War. The IRA also staged terrorist attacks for the independence of Ireland, and later for reunification with the northern part of the island, which now is under the jurisdiction of the British crown. Thus, the wolf in the film is an image of a child's bundle of fear and horror, which Kelly and Lauren, as infants, absorbed into their unconscious. They then watched their traumatized mother, whom this "wolf" continued to hunt like Little Red Riding Hood. Now Kelly, who is pulling Lauren into this abyss, is also hunted by it. When Kelly asks her sister if there are still wolves in their town, she may be referring to the terrorists.
The ghost of the mother is constantly chasing the sisters: they can not cope with her suicide for decades. For Kelly, the image of her mother is overwhelming : everyone talks about similarities in appearance and mental problems. Her mother's red coat, in which she committed suicide, only strengthens this connection when Kelly finds it in the barn and starts to wear it. In general, the movie is not about a difficult family relationship, a Britain-Irish confrontation or strange girls who have fallen into childhood. This is a story of post-traumatic stress spread over generations.