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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

Belfast - Review (London Film Festival 2021)

If You Can't Be Good, Be Careful. 4.5 / 5

Directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Buddy is a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, whose life is filled with familial love, childhood hijinks, and a blossoming romance. Yet, with his beloved hometown caught up in increasing turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything they know behind for a new life.

An enthralling look at the chaos of conflict seen through the eyes of a child, Belfast is a rewarding family drama set during the 1969 Northern Ireland riots.

Kenneth Branagh transports you back to 60s Belfast for his most personal film embedding his own childhood experiences focusing on one family and their story as they deal with the security of their home being pulled out from underneath them.

Jude Hill gives an incredible debut performance personifying the innocence and hope amongst the anger and darkness. The whole family each bring a distinct trait as they deal with the possibility of their home being under attack - Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe's tested relationship breaks your heart as they both only want the best for their family but see drastically different outcomes.

The limited use of colour is so effective in showing the escapism of cinema and stories which resonated just as much through my eyes as it did Buddy's. I couldn’t help but have the biggest grin during the family cinema trip scene.

Finding safety amongst the bleak, Belfast is an important and heart-melting film that reminds us all of the exhilaration of childhood and the cliché that home is where the heart is.

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