Prior to the turn of the millennium it was quite rare for an Irish film to get to an international audience. It still doesn’t happen frequently. However when one does, it sticks with you. Think about the implicit romance of Once, or Daniel Day-Lewis’s star-making turn in Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot, or the memorable reveal in The Crying Game.
Whether romantic, comedic, animated or musical, the best movies of the Emerald Isle are invested with a particular type of soul, one which encompasses centuries of history as well as the idiosyncrasies of its people. Looking for one to watch? Here are some of the best.
Wild Mountain Thyme
This very romantic Irish dramedy stars Emily Blunt as a farmer who has a secret crush on her handsome neighbour (who is played by Jamie Dornan), although he doesn’t seem to know it and he also seems to have inherited his family’s bad luck.
In this film, nine-year-old Buddy has his own coming-of-age story that is set against the backdrop of clashes between Catholics and Protestants in 1969. Directed Kenneth Branagh (who also directed the first Thor movie) has called it his most personal film. The cast — in particular Jamie Dornan, who portrays Buddy’s father — have been gathering lots of awards buzz for the year.
P.S. I Love You
This film whisks its audience away on virtual tour through some of the most exquisite parts of the Emerald Isle and is something magnificent to behold. P.S I Love You is about a woman whose posthumous pen palling with her husband takes her from New York City to Ireland to begin a new life. Like an the entertainment that an online casino South Africa offers, it’s lighter fare to lift the mood Irish cinema can frequently stay brooding in.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
In 1920s Ireland, Damien – who is a medical graduate – is about to depart his village and travel to London in order to practise medicine. During the journey, he observers abuse and cruelty from the hands of British soldiers who are stationed in his occupied homeland and decides rather to stay and join up as a member of the IRA with his brother Teddy.
When conflict breaks out across the country, the brothers engage guerrilla warfare against the British.
When peace is brokered, a brand-new crisis emerges among the Irish population. Many would like to accept the proposed terms to prevent more bloodshed, even though it means staying as part of the British Empire.
However, others say that there needs to be an independent Irish Republic instead. With Damien and Teddy caught up on opposite sides of the conflict, their brotherly bond will be tested sorely. Bleak and uncompromising, however beautifully shot and brought to the screen, this fictional historical drama happens during one of Ireland’s most turbulent periods.
A wrenchingly exquisite Irish immigrant drama, it re-creates the titular 1950s-era borough in all its melting-pot diversity (and Dodgers-loving Italian boyfriends), while also giving the 21-year-old Saoirse Ronan the type of role — romantically conflicted, blooming, daringly open — which changes young stars into icons.