Film Review – Belfast

Belfast (M)

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Jude Hill, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Tumultuous times in Belfast, Ireland in the late 1960s are observed through the eyes of a young boy in Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast.

The quiet, family-friendly, tight knit working class Catholic community in Belfast is turned upside down by rioting Protestants in 1969.

Nine-year-old Buddy (Jude Hall) navigates the tensions out on the streets and also in his own home as his homemaker Ma (Caitriona Balfe) and breadwinner Pa (Jamie Dornan) fret and argue with each other over their current situation (he works in England, disappearing for weeks at a time and a gambling addiction putting added strain on their money woes).

This coming of age story that plays out against a historical backdrop strikes a lovely balance of humour and horror, having its audience laughing out loud at the colourful characters then delivering a gut punch as their world crumbles around them.

The cast is impeccable, particularly our eyes in this story, young Hill, who is utterly delightful, with pros Balfe, Dornan, Judy Dench and Ciaran Hinds providing memorable back-up as his loving and supportive, but troubled family.

Expect tears of sadness and joy in equal measure as we spend some quality time with a lovely family who encounter ups and downs during tricky times.

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