Belfast Movie Review – This is another Kenneth Branagh gem!

The “Belfast” storyline is deeply personal for writer/director Kenneth Branagh because what you see play out in the film is what Branagh recalls seeing in his neighborhood when he was growing up. The 1960s in Northern Ireland was a time of great tumult between the Catholics and the Protestants. Here, we see the struggle your everyday family would have had to not only survive the civil war brewing in their neighborhoods but, at the same time, to do the right thing for their family.​

2021 is almost over. We’re near the end of another year. The end of the year means that award season is about upon us. I say that to say this, when one sees the name ‘Kenneth Branagh’ on the marquee, a bit of math is done. End of the year, Branagh, award season… the film will be good and most likely up for consideration in several Academy Award categories.

 

Well, you’ll know one of those groups only a few moments into the film. That would be ‘cinematography.’ When “Belfast” begins, it starts by getting a glimpse of what Belfast looks like today. Then, in an artful and beautiful way, we transition to 1969 by slowly moving over the “Peace Wall.”
The movie is beautifully shot primarily in black and white. What color you do see is used to pull your attention away from the main storyline for a moment. This is done to encourage your imagination in the thought that this is all coming from fading memory.

 

Branagh uses a great deal of humor to tell this tale. Rather comical is the relationship between Buddy (played by the vibrant and enthusiastic young actor, Jude Hill, who plays the young version of the filmmaker), and his Pop (Hinds) and Granny (Dench). They help guide him through the difficult time he’s having after falling in love for the first time. There’s a scene about seating arrangements where they give him his first lesson on how to manipulate the system to get what he wants most.

 

Pa (Dornan) works in England for weeks at a time. He’s missed greatly and it’s becoming a problem. The kids are raised by Ma (Balfe). Balfe totally convinced me with her performance. I totally believed she was a woman on the edge. So much so, I can see her holding a gold statue for her efforts.
Their relationship is in tatters from his coming and going, so he, mainly because of the turmoil of late, suggests they leave Belfast and move to England for good. He owes the taxman, and there, he’ll make more money and have a chance to get them out of debt faster, not to mention getting out of the religious fights that are rising up in Belfast.
Buddy won’t hear of it. There’s no way he’s moving from his family and friends. Ma agrees with the child, but she starts coming around to the idea as things get worse. Granny tells them that ‘there are no roads to Shangri-la from Belfast.’ However, from a child’s point of view, that’s all there is. Now, how to convince him of this?

 

I mentioned how gorgeous the cinematography was, how excellent Hill had done, how elegant Balfe’s performance had been, but I’d also like to point out that the soundtrack is perfect. Hell, there wasn’t anything deficient about this movie, to be honest. It’s a message of love to those who stayed, left, and lost. I can’t think of a more beautiful way to honor those in our lives who gave their all than by making a film that will be loved by millions.

 

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BELFAST

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, Jude Hill

 

Rated: PG-13 (Strong Language|Some Violence)
Run Time 1h 37m
Genres: Drama

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Rating

tmc.io contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for tmc.io. I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. I'm now working on my first feature film which is a lot of work but a lot of fun! Though it's hard to answer this questions when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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Comments

@peepso_user_29002(DaveLathrop)
Unless I left something in the oven, I'm smelling Oscar nominations for this one. Can't wait to see this, and hoping it's every bit as good as your recommendation.
@peepso_user_17297(DennyS)
Great Review and I especially like the trailer. As Dave said, this should be an award winner.