'The Eclipse' airs on RTÉ One on St Patrick's Night, 17 March, at 9.35pm.

Things that go bump in the night and hearts missing a beat... 'The Eclipse' has something for fans of both.

Michael Farr (Hinds) is a widowed teacher who has not come to terms with the loss of his wife to cancer. Bringing up two children (Hardwicke and Lynch) and helping to look after his father-in-law (Norton), Farr is very aware of the impact of grief on their lives but less willing to admit or articulate his own needs. He's also having trouble sleeping, and scary visions come to him in the middle of the night.

Every year Farr works as a volunteer at the literary festival in his hometown of Cobh and among this year's guests is Lena Morelle (Hjejle), an author whose area of interest is the supernatural. She is assigned Farr as her driver and there is a mutual attraction, but the chances of them developing a deeper understanding seem unlikely. Farr's concerned that recognising the qualities of someone else is a betrayal of his late wife, while Lena has to contend with Nicholas Holden (Quinn), a bestselling writer and ego monster who's convinced she's the key to his happiness.

Watch the trailer for 'The Eclipse'.

The awards success that 'The Eclipse' has enjoyed - the IFTAs and festivals in Spain and the US - is well-deserved and there is much to savour in this story of fresh starts and the fear of letting go. With a screenplay by director McPherson and fellow playwright Billy Roche from one of Roche's short-stories, it shows how people can become chained to either the past or the promise of the future and forget to breathe in the present. Reminiscent in parts of Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now', the film has a special, dreamy atmosphere and uses its Cobh locations to great effect. You'll think a visit is in order after watching and wish you had in the soundtrack in the earphones when you do.

Too often in supporting roles on screen, Hinds shines as the stoical bear of a man who's scared to recognise his own potential emotionally or creatively. He has some great scenes with Hjejle's Lena, who has the career but not the fulfilment, and Quinn, whose obnoxious Nicholas has the success but no appreciation of anything but himself.

This is a small film, and perhaps it could've been longer, but what it says it says very well. And a word of warning: there are some good scares in 'The Eclipse'. But aren't those just the kind of moments that really make you feel alive?

Harry Guerin

'The Eclipse' airs on RTÉ One on St Patrick's Night, 17 March, at 9.35pm.