Of late, there has been a resurgence of a movement in which filmmakers bring their own stories to life for the big screen. The latest visionary to follow the trend is Sir Kenneth Branagh, writing and directing coming-of-age drama Belfast. Inspired by his childhood during the beginning of The Troubles in the late 1960s, the semi-autobiographical plot centres around mischievous nine-year-old Buddy (Jude Hill) as he navigates school, religion, and his first crush. As hostility descends onto his close-knit working-class street, his ‘Ma’ (Caitríona Balfe) and his ‘Pa’ (Jamie Dornan) struggle with the rising tensions and are faced with a potentially life-changing decision for the family.Continue reading “DVD review: Belfast”
Based on an incredible true story, ‘Philomena’, directed by Stephen Frears, tracks a mother’s search for her long-lost son nearly fifty years after he was brutally taken away from her, with the help of a disgraced journalist. Judi Dench stars as Philomena Lee who was sent to the Sacred Heart convent in Roscrea after falling pregnant at a young age, and was forced to sign away parental rights. After keeping her first born a secret for decades, believing she had committed an unforgivable sin, she meets former Labour party advisor Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) who is seeking a fresh new direction after very publicly losing his political position due to his controversial words being taken out of context, and they embark on an investigation which takes them further than they could ever imagine. Exploring themes of religion, forgiveness and redemption, the factual account is beautifully told, helped by a strong script and even stronger performances.