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Drama - Family

Belfast (2022)

Duration1h 38m
RatingsUK: PG-13, USA: PG-13, Denmark:11 
Source of storyAn original screenplay based on the author’s childhood in Belfast.
DirectorKenneth Branagh
Writers/ScriptKenneth Branagh
StarringJude Hill, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Cairian Hinds, Lara McDonnell, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.3/10 by 41,094 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 87% by 292 reviewers. Review2view: 8/10

Elevator Pitch: It is 1969 in Belfast where tensions are high due to the sectarian divide in the city, The Catholics apparently being oppressed and the Protestants generally being assisted by the law enforcers, particularly the volunteer B-Specials. Buddy a 9 year old boy lives with his family in a street of mixed religious affiliations, his father working away in England. There are riots and on one occasion the street is raided by ultra protestants. Buddy’s dad is also called out by them to take sides. But the boy gets along, doing well in class and spending a lot of time with his grandparents who live round the corner. Buddy’s grandfather is hospitalised, his father is offered permanent work in England and there are further riots. His life may be changing for ever.

Content: No sex or nudity, or smoking and just a bit of drinking. All working males of that generation would habitually spend a lot of time in the pub. Buddy is seen in class, where you get nearer to the front the better you do. The riots take place, causing an Austin A55 to be burnt, and windows smashed and later a supermarket to be raided. The UK government send troops, but they take little part in the narrative. The boy spends time with his grandparents, mainly in the yard, where the outside toilet provides a seat. And he is recruited by a girl as a gang member and steals a box of washing powder during the store looting.

A View: It won the BAFTA for the best British film last night so what can I say about it, well – this. I am generally intolerant of films featuring children but this one was okay, possibly because the story was presented in a glossy way and more or less avoided much of the distress which surely the residents of the street must have felt in 1969. So I was tolerant of the short cuts taken to provided a bit of drama, and to keep us engaged. As someone else has said, no way would a bus to the airport have passed down their street. In fact it is more likely that his father took the boat.  But a worthy award winner, well worth a watch.

Some other films featuring children reviewed on the site: Boyhood, Mud and Hugo.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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