Rent Belfast (2021)

3.6 of 5 from 164 ratings
1h 34min
Rent Belfast Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
Belfast is a poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy's childhood amid the music and social tumult of the late 1960's. Buddy's family lives in a largely Protestant district with a few Catholic families, but one day his community and everything he thought he understood about life is suddenly turned upside down. Buddy's family gets caught in the mayhem and must decide to stay or leave the only place they have ever called home.
Through it all, his passionate parents (Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan) and quick-witted grandparents (Academy Award winner Judy Dench and Ciaran Hinds) keep the joy alive through music and the magic of movies in this feel-good story that reminds us that no matter how far you go, you never forget where you came from.
Actors:
Jude Hill, , , , , , , Freya Yates, Nessa Eriksson, , Frankie Hastings, Máiréad Tyers, Caolan McCarthy, Ian Dunnett Jnr, , , , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Laura Berwick, Becca Kovacik, Tamar Thomas, Kenneth Branagh
Writers:
Kenneth Branagh
Others:
Van Morrison, James Mather, Caitriona Balfe, Niv Adiri, Úna Ní Dhonghaíle, Ciaran Hinds, Denise Yarde, Simon Chase
Studio:
Universal Pictures
Genres:
Children & Family, Drama
Awards:

2022 BAFTA Best British Film

2022 Oscar Best Original Screen Play

BBFC:
Release Date:
25/04/2022
Run Time:
94 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
B & W
Bonus:
  • Alternate Ending Featuring Kenneth Branagh
  • Deleted Scenes
  • A City of Stories: The Making of 'Belfast'
  • Everyone's Inner Child
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Kenneth Branagh
BBFC:
Release Date:
25/04/2022
Run Time:
97 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description, English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French DTS 5.1, German DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1, Italian DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1, Spanish DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1
Subtitles:
Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Alternate Ending Featuring Kenneth Branagh
  • Deleted Scenes
  • A City of Stories: The Making of 'Belfast'
  • Everyone's Inner Child
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Kenneth Branagh

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Reviews (3) of Belfast

Bittersweet memories of a Belfast childhood but charm over realism - Belfast review by PD

Spoiler Alert
05/05/2022

Kenneth Branagh’s curiously nostalgic piece is every bit the contradiction in terms that it sounds like: you can sort of see what he's trying to do - give a bittersweet picture of the beginnings of the 'Troubles' through a 9-year old's eyes , but despite some powerful scenes the whole thing is so drenched in sentiment that it's very difficult to take seriously. In stark contrast to so many films about or informed by the violence that plagued the city during the latter half of the 20th century, 'Belfast' ultimately opts for romanticism over realism at every turn. It's also a film that wants desperately to be a work of art, but it takes more than black and white cinematography and an affecting central character to bring this off successfully.

The opening sequence is pretty good - Jude Hill as Buddy sword-fighting an innocent swarm of other children in a frenzied street scene interrupted by a mob of angry Protestants looking to cleanse the neighbourhood of the remaining Catholics. Jude Hill as Buddy is all a bit one-dimensional throughout, but there are strong performances from Jamie Dornan as his all-too absent father, who balances his excellent performance between the decency of a man who refuses to raise a fist to his neighbour and the fragility of one who’s concerned about the well-being of his wife and sons, and Caitríona Balfe as Buddy’s similarly beautiful mother, pictured with the elegance of an adult trying to picture what his mother looked like in her prime, and in whose mouth is put the film’s most pivotal speech. There is an irritating Judi Dench as Buddy’s spicy grandma (her Irish accent is worse than mine), but she is offset by the wonderful Ciarán Hinds as her ailing husband of 1,000 years (and Buddy’s confidant). “There’s only one right answer,” Buddy says when talking to his grandpa about the brewing Troubles. “If that were true,” his grandpa replies, “people wouldn’t be blowing themselves up all across this town.”

Branagh creates a vivid sense of Buddy’s home life — warm, chaotic, rooted to the soil — and of a city whose rapid descent into violence threatens to smash the idyllic snow-globe that is his world. There's a great touch of a bellicose, Wellesian minister at his church scaring the boy into drawing a literal road map that divines heaven from hell, a striking (presumably autobiographical) detail in a film full of them, and an underwritten thread in a film that doesn’t have many (Buddy has an older brother and sister, but the characters' only purpose is as supplements to Buddy, which is a shame). And there's some lovely scenes as Buddy and his family watch such classics as 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' and 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' (where the film is momentarily in colour), attesting to cinema’s transportive and inspiring nature; Branagh shrewdly conveys how films are intimately enmeshed with our memories of the past. But because the film underplays the tensions and grievances of the Troubles for such a long stretch of its running time, scenes that attempt political profundities are less an acknowledgement of truths that can no longer be shielded from a child than simply intrusive melodrama.

The film is soundtracked by an incessant string of Van Morrison songs that strain to convey some of the happy-go-lucky childlike energy that’s missing from so much of the camerawork. It’s a telling detail of a very personal film that — despite shimmering with the essence of Branagh’s love — sorely lacks a point-of-view or a sense of cohesion. All in all, lots of charm, but rarely convincing - a retreat from reality rather than an engagement with it.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Disappointing though beautifully acted - Belfast review by CH

Spoiler Alert
14/05/2022

When one realises that Branagh himself was the same age as the main character Buddy when his family left Belfast for England, one perhaps understands better why this film seems so relentlessly rose- coloured. The acting is wonderful, but all the characters, except the Protestant thug, are wise and loving and deliver speeches full of homespun wisdom. Whether Branagh's own grandfather was a charming old philosopher I have no idea, but I'm confident that in 1969 old men didn't talk about "knowing who you are" as Ciaran Hinds is made to do. This is a shame, because so many opportunities were missed to show how the forces of bigotry and resentment were able to flourish in a society that was outwardly law abiding but fundamentally unjust. Hatred doesn't appear overnight and it was dishonest of Branagh to ignore the part played by the rise of gangsterism among ordinary but disadvantaged people. As an affectionate look at Branagh's own childhood memories the film is nice but shallow. As any kind of portrait in depth of Belfast it is quite inadequate and sentimental.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Warm Drama About Childhood - Belfast review by GI

Spoiler Alert
04/02/2022

A remarkable, warm film about childhood and the innocence that comes with it as well as the confusion of watching adults and trying to deal with the emotional conflicts. This is a semi-autobiographical film from director Kenneth Branagh about growing up in the late 60s at the start of the Troubles in Belfast. The film is told through the eye and experience of young Buddy (Jude Hill) the second son to his Ma (Caitriona Balfe) and Pa (Jamie Dornan). They are a protestant family but live in street with a mix of catholics too. Whilst the Troubles forms the backdrop of the film this is more a film about growing up and seeing their world through the bewildered eyes of a child. In that sense it's a nostalgic film which uses it's monochrome cinematography to create that sense of the past. This works extremely well and the film has a warmth while still showing the fear that children feel from experiments with shoplifting to the witnessing of riots and threats from extremists. With a support cast that includes Ciaràn Hinds and Judi Dench as Buddy's grandparents this is a film that really gets to grips with childhood and all the mysteries of life that a child sees. Branagh also rightly indicates the Irish Troubles as a religious conflict that destroyed and changed lives. A really interesting and quite touching film that is worth a trip to the cinema.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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