Belfast ★★★★

Yeahhhh jesus, this is a stunning film. I seen it with my family today and I could tell it just got to my mam and dad a lot, I've never seen reactions from them towards a film like this before. Both lost a father, my Mam grew up during the troubles and my nanny on my da's side was from Derry so these events have very personal meaning for my family.

Tbh, I really don't get the criticisms from American critics(not trying to criticize them at all, their opinion) but I do wonder if it's because they know so little about the Troubles and don't understand the effects it had on the people of Ireland and especially Northern Ireland for decades. I feel people outside of Ireland know about the Troubles, they know Derry Girls, the IRA memes, the songs but it all feels so surface level. I don't think they actually know the complexities of what went on.
(I mean for the love of god, people on the internet idolize the fuck out of the IRA but if you listened to my mam or granny talk about their stories growing up, you would hold a different viewpoint. The hate and divide that went on was always horrifying, the conflict was just so damn fucking complex and not a lot of people on the internet get that)

My mam always told me about helicopters landing on the backfields, the background checks at border crossings by British Soldiers, the fear and terror that was inflicted by the IRA every day and by the Brits, the emotion and pain when my great uncle was shot by the UVF or when my granda's best mate was killed by the RA, The chaos, the violence, the bloodshed....I think Kenneth Branagh caught it perfectly and displayed a tiny ounce of it beautifully. The history of it all is just so rich and dense. You would have to do 5 seasons of a show to capture it fully but what was explored was definitely realistic and truthful.

It was also again quite hard to watch after having just lost my granda this past year but there was something in the funeral sequence that felt that somewhat bittersweet and moving.

I just felt overall watching it a second time, that I came away with a deeper love and acknowledgment for the passion on display. It felt like a slice of my own life travelling up to Armagh and seeing my Granny and Grandad, seeing the Irishisms(nanny giving you money, going to mass and the sense of community) and even more so for my mam who actually experienced it.

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