Belfast: Personal Yet Familiar

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The life and times of a young boy, played by Jude Hill, from Belfast whose family has to come to terms with leaving the area to escape the Troubles.

Do I think this is a good film? Yes. Do I think it should be inevitably nominated for Best Picture? No. This is a good film in many ways but it is not spectacular, and despite this being a very personal journey and reflective of a certain time and place there is an element over familiarity here, meaning you have seen this film before the plot is not quite as fresh as it really ought to be.

I thought this film particularly came into its own when dealing with emotion. I thought there were a number of stirring scenes here, the final scenes we get with Ciaran Hinds’ Pop and Judi Dench’s Granny and both powerful and the shop looting sequence is also quite harrowing. I was impressed with the film in that it both manages to show the danger of the Troubles whilst also presenting it from the point of view of a naïve child and keep the lens being from his perspective but at the same time not losing any of the perceived danger.

I thought the performances were good across the board however, I think Caitriona Balfe should be spotlighted for any awards nomination from this as she was excellent here- easily stealing the show.

Overall, a powerful yet familiar film.

Pros.

A strong cast across the board

Managing childlike nativity with the grim reality

The ending

Balfe especially

Cons.

The plot feels a little bit overly familiar  

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