Ondine is an Irish film drenched in magical realism. For magical realism to work - for me - the realism must be subtle and not overpower the magic.
Something Wonderful: the magic here is truly wonderful. Colin Farrell plays an Irish fisherman, a "landsman", who, in the very first scene pulls his net out of the water and finds there is a woman in it. Having no exposition beforehand works - it is a powerful scene that we know is not supposed to happen, so we can get thrown right into the action and still feel comfortable.
Something Terrible: Though I have always felt good about understanding a thick Irish brogue, combined with cinematic sound which I have lots of complaints about any way, it was pretty hard to understand much of the dialogue.
Something Wonderful: to the films credit, the performances and cinematography are so perfect, it was surprisingly easy to not care about missed dialogue. Will need to catch the DVD and watch it with subtitles.
Something Wonderful: the woman pulled out of the sea may or may not be a Selkie, a folk being who is a seal in the water. The performance by Alison Barry playing Farrell's young daughter drives the mystery of whether the woman is a Selkie or not. Barry wants to believe, and the interaction between all three of these main characters is truly wonderful.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
Something Terrible: In the very end of the film, the realism overpowers the magic. In a film like this, you should be left wondering about what is real - is she a Selkie? Does it matter? But the wondrous possible Selkie should never turn out to be a Romanian drug mule. That kind of spoils things.
Add it up and we have three Wonderful's to two Terrible's. The Wonderful's win and the movie is hauntingly beautiful. The accents can be looked over because the acting, plot and visuals are really stunning. Farrell really is amazing here, as are the rest of the cast. You might want to stop watching, though, once the Ondine appears to have gone away.