Starring: Jude Hill, Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, and Judi Dench
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Once viewed, it’s easy to see why writer/director Kenneth Branagh's Belfast is a frontrunner for Best Picture. Beautifully photographed in black and white, the semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age tale is deeply sweet and often quite funny while featuring great performances across the board (Caitríona Balfe is a lock for an Oscar nomination). However, there are frequent opportunities in the film for Branagh to comment on larger conflicts, but these moments are mostly just background noise, seemingly important context that remains unexplored. Nonetheless, the subtle charms of the film’s main narrative are undeniable.
Belfast is an undeniably sweet film. It takes a bit to get going (the opening sequence is actively bad), but once it picks up, it’s hard not to get swept away by the film's heart. It’s clearly a personal story for writer-director Kenneth Branagh, which makes it super easy to connect with. It certainly hit me right in the feels. On top of that, it boasts very good cinematography and an incredible ensemble, specifically Caitríona Balfe and newcomer Jude Hill. Overall, it’s a beautiful story of family and home that is definitely worth a watch.