Jackson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Belfast? More like BORE FEST. *waits for applause*
Okay, seriously though, I have a surprising amount of thoughts on this movie which I went into expecting just some generic, fine Oscar bait movie. Which, on the surface, it is. It's fine, it's harmless. It goes in one eye and out the other. But, if you stop to think about this movie, it just reveals itself to be just a bad movie. And, sure, you could maybe explain away some of these problems as being thematic, but in the end these choices hurt the movie more than they help it.
The film is very stagnant, while there is a vague plot about whether or not the family should move, the majority of the movie is just living in this status quo. The film starts with something that is apparently a big change to these people's lives, but as that's how the movie starts, we don't feel the change. And thus we're stuck in this moment. And I think that may be an attempt to emulate life in Belfast, how it is so stale and samey and thus why the outside world is so much more exciting or whatever (even though that's not at all what the movie is trying to tell us), it still ends up with a movie that feels like 90 minutes of standing in one spot.
The characters in this have absolutely no arc, almost everyone is completely archetypal and lacking in depth, including the main kid. suffering wife, loving fuck-up dad, generic kid, generic kid, generic old person, generic old person, generic thug, so on, and so forth. And for this, I think the point is that we are seeing this through the eyes of the main kid, so of course he's gonna have a simplified view of things, BUT THAT JUST MEANS YOUR CHARACTERS ARE SHIT! Like, there is a death in this movie, and it wants us to feel heart broken, but we've seen this character maybe two or three times before. Those scenes do nothing to make us attach to this character, we're just supposed to be attached because our main character is attached or maybe because you had a similar person in your own life. A good movie would spend time letting us get to know this character, make them feel whole, making them feel truly a part of this movie, and then suddenly ripping them away. But this person's scenes are so disjointed from everything else (just like every other scene) that there is just no fucking emotion when this bitch dies!
SPEAKING OF THE DEATH SCENE, it is immediately followed by the fucking Everlasting Love scene that is in the trailer. First of all, WHAT? Why such a drastic and sudden tonal shift? You want us to forget we're supposed to be sad? Not let us sit with the alleged sadness we're feeling? No? Secondly, this scene is supposed to be a big climactic scene for an attempted arc, that being the mother and father showing that despite the constant strife they are still so in love with each other. THIS SCENE IS NOT EARNED AT ALL. There is no fucking progression that leads up to this scene making any kind of fucking sense in terms of this barely-meets-the-definition-of-a-plot. Also, like I said earlier, this scene is so fucking jarring and out of place. It's preceded by a fucking funeral, and followed by the pretty somber ending, so just having this fucking joyous music scene out of nowhere is just bad and dumb. Sure, out of context, it's a fine fun scene, but it doesn't fucking work! It brings back memories of another musical sequence in the Oscar-winning short film Curfew. That short film is one of the few films I've given half a star. That's all you need to fucking know about that.
That fucking scene pretty much sums up everything about this movie. Surface level entertainment that completely falls apart and reveals itself as bad filmmaking and storytelling if you dare to think about it for a second. So if you don't think, you'll have fun.
Also, the main kid actor is awful. Just an absolutely grating performance.
Jamie Dornan's face is the best part of this movie.