Belfast; Rotten Potatoes, Heavy with Famine

Well, I can’t tell you why I don’t like Belfast that much because then I’d break my spoiler promise. Hence, I’ll give you some hints, and once you see it, please, by all means, write to me at to guess the answer, or to agree or disagree with my premise.
Let’s just say it was a case of overblown expectations, when 3 of the podcasters on one of my favorite film pods, claimed they thought Belfast would win the Oscar for best film….wait, what?????? I don’t think so! First, let’s look at the socio-political climate right now, Irish causes aren’t exactly hot topics.
Sure, Kenneth Branagh has suffered the ‘Willem DaFoe ripped off syndrome’ for years (nominated 5 times) and any one who can do Shakespeare is a God to me, but surely he’s not ripe for an award (especially according to Emma Thompson-laughter emoji). And yes, this is essentially a biopic as Ken’s family left Belfast to escape the stupid religious violence.
But if he’s going to get awarded for a great film, let’s rewind and give it to him for All is True which was a MUCH more moving film than Belfast.
Ok, ok, so what’s good? Belfast is cute in a fable way, a reverse Wizard of Oz where instead of black and white to color and back, Ken goes color to b&w and then back. Similar opposing theme, too, Wiz of OZ “there’s no place like home”, Belfast “there are safer places than home, at least in 1969”.
Sure, did Kenny put in cute tv (Star Trek) and movie (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Who Shot Liberty Valance) references? Yes, but cutesie and clever does not equal emotion.
The acting is solid: the little boy, Jude Hill, has a pinchable face, but his acting is a mere spoonful considering the child acting in Honey Boy (YES, I will continue to go on about that underappreciated movie). Jamie Dornan has a very seductive and handsome face, yet again, his acting is surface. Ditto, the Renee Zellweger look-a-like Caitriona Balfe, who at least stretched more acting wise here. But she is overshadowed by one of the goddesses of acting Judi Dench (I am curtsying as I write this). Ditto the acting accolades for the Grandpa in the film, Ciaran Hinds, simply magic.
But in the end, despite all the tricks and gimmicks, Belfast is just interesting. For a last hint into my main grievance, consider Kenneth as flattening the curve in story telling.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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