Happy St. Patrick's Day! Favourite Irish-themed Films
Today is St. Patrick's Day: a day for drinking and dressing in green, and one of only two saint's days in the calendar year that people actually celebrate (when was the last time you remembered St. George's day?) To mark the occasion, I thought I'd review some films featuring the emerald isle. Starting with a newly discovered favourite... (SPOILERS in all trailers, by the way. Seriously, why do they do that?)
I watched this for the very first time last week, and I loved it. Set in the 1980's, it tells the story of a group of north Dubliners who form a soul band. The plot itself isn't all that original: there's no big twists or events you couldn't foresee, but for some reason The Commitments feels like something special. Maybe it's the realism, maybe the humour, but more likely it's the music. All of the young stars (unknowns when the film was released) do their own singing/playing and Deco, the lead singer, was only sixteen at the time. Casting this lot was a big gamble for the film-makers to take, but it definitely paid off. Some of the group performances are spine-tinglingly good.
I've probably talked about Brooklyn before, but I really did like it (although, I wasn't all that sure on the ending...) The story of an Irish immigrant in America, it stars the lovely Saiorse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson, both using their own accents for a change. Brooklyn is an affecting study of homesickness, a realistic love story and it's funny too, with an Oscar nominated screenplay by Nick Hornby. The costumes are gorgeous and that kid from Smash has most definitely stepped up his game in order to play a leading man. The bowl-cut is no more!
I shouldn't really include this, as I can imagine real Irish people find it border-line offensive. But hey, I enjoyed it. In this 2010 rom-com, very possibly inspired by I Know Where I'm Going (1945) Amy Adams heads to Dublin to propose to her boyfriend on 'Leap Day' (which apparently is only a custom in Ireland?) She ends up stranded in Dingle and accepts the help of an Irish-accented Matthew Goode, who agrees to drive her to Dublin for a fee. It's very cheesy, and they've crammed in every possible Irish stereotype, but Amy Adams is always likeable and her leading man is easy on the eye. As romantic comedies go, it fulfils both criteria (it's romantic and funny) which is rare nowadays - have there been any decent rom-coms lately?
These might not be the best Irish films out there, but they're my favourites. Would also recommend Circle of Friends (although the book's waaay better than the film) and Tara Road. Have a great St. Patrick's Day!