Valentine Barber is a Private Detective in Ireland. One day, the missing person case of Sara Dunne, falls on his lap. As his friend describes, this case is a “bit of a step up in the world for [him] from catching wives doing the dirty.” However, Tony Quinn, with whom Barber has had some tension in the past, is also after the case. On the personal front, Barber is trying to stay afloat after certain setbacks. He has a daughter who has recently survived an accident that has left her with nerve damage. Moreover, Barber has decided to end his marriage due to his sexuality. He was also dismissed from his workplace, perhaps because of his sexuality.

Barber (2023) Plot Summar & Movie Synopsis:

Barber is endowed with the responsibility of finding the granddaughter of a wealthy widow, Mrs. Lily Dunne. Dunne’s granddaughter, Sara Dunne, has been missing, and the only person who seems to be concerned about her disappearance is her grandmother. Her stepfather, Patrick O’Neill, was the last person to see her. He goes to the O’Neill residence to retrieve evidence and finds Sara’s mobile phone. Later, he stalks Sara’s Facebook profile and finds an intimate photograph of her with one Cian Kelly. From there, he also finds Jane Duvaney, Sara’s childhood friend. The next day, Barber follows Jane Duvaney and stops her to interrogate. Jane tells Barber that Sara’s friends started drifting away after she slept with Jane’s boyfriend and that Cian Kelly is Sara’s former boyfriend.

On the other hand, Kate creates a fiasco at the hospital by refusing to take medications. When he approaches her, she says that it is because her boyfriend has found someone else. A Guard official, Tony Quinn, charges Barber with impersonating a Garda Siochana member after being dismissed from the force.  Amidst all this, Barber forges a sexual liaison with a man. But things do not remain hidden for too long as Inspector Quinn starts following him. Barber fails to retrieve anything from the phone as it has been completely wiped clean. However, the number of Brendan West has shown up on Sara’s phone on multiple occasions. He also finds out that Sara has also run away from home.

Following O’Neill, Barber turns up at an art museum. There, he meets Lexie Finnegan, a singer and the mistress of O’Neill. O’Neill puts the record straight– Sara is not missing; she simply does not want to contact others. Quinn, an acquaintance of O’Neill, is also at the museum and gives him the photograph that he has sneakily taken of Barber’s new lover. The man can be seen walking around with his wife and child. He immediately calls off the relationship.

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Kate helps Barber to track down Cian at one of his spoken word slam events. Cian’s side of the story does not add anything new. He leaves Cian and starts following Jane, who is at a high-end restaurant dating a septuagenarian. Barber shoos the man away and settles before Jane to extract more regarding Sara from her. It is here that Jane reveals that at the time when the #MeToo movement gained momentum, Sara disclosed to her a secret that she could tell no one. At the time when she was 15, Sara had a party at her parent’s house where a big shot masturbated in front of her. Soon, he finds out that his phone is getting tapped, presumably by Tony Quinn.

Barber (2023) Movie Ending Explained - HOF
Aisling Kearns in Barber (2023)

Kate knows the reason for the divorce between her parents, i.e., Barber’s sexuality. With no holds barred, she confronts Barber about it. As for the case, a new name starts doing rounds– Eunan Brady, a minister. When Barber confronts O’Neill about the whereabouts of Brady, the latter physically assaults him. Meanwhile, Barber’s former lover, Eddie Quinn, has returned to make amends. It is hinted that their relationship splintered due to the interference of Eddie’s homophobic big brother, Tony Quinn.

From his former colleague, Barber finds out that before Sara, there was another woman who called out Brady’s sexual misconduct. However, she was shushed. The woman, Eliza Farrell, refuses to comply with him. On the other hand, Quinn keeps unnecessarily stopping and searching for Barber due to his vendetta rooted in homophobic prejudices.

Inspector Quinn accuses Barber of being a bad influence on his brother. Eliza meets Barber to tell him that she had a similar experience with Brady as Sara. However, it was under the influence of the police that Eliza decided to withdraw her statement. It was Brendan West who approached Eliza to jettison her statement. Brendan West, Brady’s bag man, refuses to comply with Barber’s interrogation. At night, Barber secretly observes West and O’Neill fight and takes photos of them.

Barber (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Did Sara really go missing?

Barber’s assistant slips him the information that Eunan Brady would be present at the Blooms Hotel the same night for a fundraiser event. He walks past the security installed outside and makes his way inside the washroom. Barber confronts him and tells him he is aware that O’Neill and West have, in fact, been working for him. A new relationship takes off between Barber and Lexie Finnegan. Tony Quinn meets him and assaults him for interfering in the case, which is under the purview of the police. But Barber has recorded his words and threatens to make it public, which could ruin his career.

Barber goes to O’Neill and shows him the photographs he took surreptitiously the other night. That O’Neill’s acquaintance with West is not so much hidden anymore. To add to that is Tony’s regular harassment, backed by O’Neill. When O’Neill tries to pass off what has happened as secrets, he bursts his bubbles and calls them for what they are– crimes. But O’Neill still refuses to give out Sara’s whereabouts.

Soon, shockingly, Sara is found giving a television press statement where she lays down Brady’s misdeeds for the world to see and take note of. Sara states that silence is a way for men like Brady and his accomplices to control women long after the act of crime has been committed. Turns out Sara never really went missing; she was just carefully hidden by her grandmother to extract good police contacts from Barber. Employing Barber was a way for Mrs. Dunne to get in touch with many other victims who otherwise were hard to track down. Ultimately, as a result of Sara’s media statement, Brady resigns.

Read More: Saturn Bowling (2023) Movie Review: Wobbly thriller with little punch


Barber (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Barber (2023) Movie: Aidan Gillen
Barber (2023) Movie Genre: Mystery & thriller/Crime, Runtime: 1h 30m
Where to watch Barber

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