Shirley and I went to see "Belfast" yesterday afternoon. Not the city in Northern Ireland but the semi-autobiographical film about Sir Kenneth Branagh's childhood in that notorious city. He wrote the script and he directed it. His part was played endearingly and brilliantly by an animated little actor called Jude Hill.
Sir Kenneth Branagh
If you wish to read a professional review of "Belfast", just search the net and I am sure you will easily locate several of them.
"Belfast" is almost wholly presented in black and white, a factor that helps to place it back in 1969 and 1970. The Troubles are breaking out between Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods but that appears like mere background as the film focuses upon the happiness, unity and anxieties of one working class Protestant family.
There 's a pretty stellar cast including a lovely cameo performance by the brilliant Yorkshireborn actress Judi Dench as Granny. Jamie Dornan, who starred in the recent BBC TV production of "The Tourist", plays the part of Pa and I especially liked the performance of Ciarán Hinds as Buddy's grandfather. By the way, Buddy is the name given to Kenneth Branagh's character.
"Belfast" made me laugh in places and it also made a few tears roll down my cheeks. It was not overly sweet nor overly sentimental but of course it did not set out to paint an accurate hard hitting documentary-type portrait of Belfast as The Troubles burst forth. It was affectionate as if recalled through the mists of childhood memory and we very much enjoyed it. A lovely, shared cinema experience.
Afterwards, after we had alighted from the number 88 bus, we called in at our neighbourhood's brand new pub - "The Dark Horse" which has opened in the premises of what was once Lloyd's Bank. There we bumped into two old friends - Linda and Ian - and gossiped for an hour before heading home for a later evening meal than we had anticipated.