Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of November 8, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of November 8, 2021

Belfast
Rated PG-13 for strong language and some violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
In Theaters

From writer/director Kenneth Branagh comes this deeply personal story about a young family in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1969 as protestants and catholics are violently clashing, forcing them to make a life-changing decision about their futures. All told from the viewpoint of a 9 year old boy (newcomer Jude Hill) who has a rosy outlook on life in spite of the violence surrounding him and the financial struggles his family faces on a daily basis. Told in vibrant black and white, the film is a lovely piece of art, and due to its simplicity, should find a wider audience than most awards-worthy indies we see nowadays. The story itself might not be deeply complex, but it proves that it doesn’t have to be. It gives us a view of a turbulent time but because everything starts and ends with home, it makes you feel safe even when danger lurks. That being said, it is sneaky. It shows us how fragile that security can be as there was no middle ground to be found during that time. While catholics and protestants had to live, work and go to school together, they were, in many homes, taught to hate and hurt the other side. I simply loved the many discussions between the young boy and his father (Jamie Dornan) as the dad tries to convey upon the son that tolerance and understanding need to win out as the son tries to understand why there is so much dissonance. In this way it is incredibly relevant to America today as these same conversations are being had in homes in regard to our heated political strife as we are hoping and dreaming that the polarity declines as we watch the divide get larger and the potential for civil violence grows. Sure to be a big player in the upcoming awards season, the cast is full of terrific performances from not only Hill and Dornan, but also from Judi Dench, Ciarin Hinds and Caitriona Balfe who all deliver memorable and impressive turns. When you add in the amazing production and music from Van Morrison, what you get is a love letter to Belfast that most viewers will appreciate as a warm and cozy memory of their own homes and what is most important in life. A

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