This is a great film: serious-minded, gentle and affectionate. It's contained, assured and interested in serious themes - but the genre (however improbable this sounds) is "thriller". The key character is the unseen poet, Mary Swann, whose simple poems of domestic life are being claimed by the literary establishment as the works of a marginalised genius. It is while researching her planned critical study of Swann, that Sarah Maloney (Richardson) comes to Swann's hometown, and finds Rose (Fricker) the librarian and unofficial guardian of Swann's literary "estate" - such as it is. What unfolds is a story about the poetic tradition, stories handed down by word of mouth and a feminist comment on the idea of authorship and ownership. That makes it sound like heavy-going: it isn't. Brenda Fricker's remarkable performance as the shy Rose, whose secret provides the film with its great twist and key thesis is a masterpiece of observation and restraint. Miranda Richardson as the confident, sexually-charged academic "out of towner" gives a much bigger performance that at first seems mannered, but which serves as the ideal foil to Fricker and to the world of Mary Swann. Great stuff, marginally let down by a couple of the male performances.