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Ok, first things first: Saoirse Ronan’s name is pronounced Ser-sha, to rhyme with inertia - a beautiful, unusual name for a beautiful and unique talent. At the young age of 25 Saoirse has chalked up more notable performances than some actors in their entire career.

She made her first big impression at the tender age of 13 with Atonement (2007) in a pivotal role that not only stole the show from leads Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, but earned her an Oscar nomination.

Last autumn I was lucky enough to see both of Ronan’s 2017 films, Lady Bird and On Chesil Beach at a preview screening on the same day. Being able to see her performances in these films back to back was proof positive of what an amazing and versatile actor she is, since the roles she plays in them couldn’t be more different.

In American independent comedy drama Lady Bird Ronan plays the titular Christine ‘Lady Bird’ MacPherson. It’s a coming of age story about a teenager desperately trying to realise her aspirations during her final year of high school. Ronan brilliantly conveys the idealism and awkwardness of that age with humour and warmth.

By stark contrast, Ronan’s character Florence Ponting in On Chesil Beach is a young woman feeling the societal pressures of Britain in 1962. On her wedding night, Florence’s ideas of romance clash catastrophically with the reality of physical intimacy.

Two very different roles in two very different films, the only similarities being the conviction with which Ronan plays them and her impeccable ear for accents – you’d never guess Saoirse’s native accent was beautifully broad Irish.

But don’t take my word for it, see these great performances for yourself. Lady Bird is released on DVD on July 2nd. On Chesil Beach is screening at our very own Kinokulture Cinema here in Oswestry on Friday 29th June at 7.30pm, Saturday 30th June at 7.30pm and Thursday 5th July at 1.30pm.

By Tom Brookes

From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 19th June 2018.

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