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Belfast

Kenneth Branaugh directs this semi-autobiographical story of young Buddy growing up in Belfast in the 1970s, an era characterized by enhanced violence between Protestants and Catholics. Buddy’s dad works in England and returns home every two weeks to be with his family. In between, Buddy navigates, with the help of his mother and grandparents, the political uncertainty around him, as well as his first love and the growing discontent between his parents. I liked the movie. It reminded me a lot of Roma, Alfonso Cuarón’s look back at his own childhood, in that both directors used black and white to capture the mood of the time that gives a kind of dreamlike quality to the memories. The camera work is wonderful, especially when the director uses close-up shots of his characters that reflect their lives without words. Belfast is almost too idyllic for me, given the era, but the intent is to tell a story of the best memories from the perspective of Buddy who is still too young to understand the depth of what is happening around him. In the end, I felt that it was a nice story but not one that emotionally grabbed me. (2021; 3.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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