Irish writer/director Conor McPherson ("The Weir") has long been a great one for a ghost story that gets under your skin in ways that transcend gimmickry. This fine, scary and touching film is a tale of two hauntings. It's also a triumph for character actor Ciaran Hinds, who plays an Irish widower raising two children in a house that seems to be haunted. He meets a kindred spirit at a local literary arts festival: Lena (Iben Hjejle), a London novelist obsessed with the supernatural.

The first time we see an apparition gliding through Michael's house, it's so quick and subtle you're not quite sure if you saw anything at all. Later, McPherson resorts to more conventional and "gotcha!" moments. They're a bit jarring, as is Aidan Quinn as a drunken blowhard novelist on the make. In truth, this is a small story, focused on who's really shadowing Michael from the beyond and how he acknowledges, after too long, his grief. But it's a special one. Hinds long has been ready for a role of this size and shape, tailored for his baleful, sweet reserve and fierce emotional resources.

THE ECLIPSE ★★★ 1/2 out of four stars

Rating: R for language, disturbing images

Where: Edina.