With St Patty’s day coming up and all things green and Irish themed making its presence known, I thought I would share my top seven Irish themed film. Themed as in it has characters who are Irish, takes place in Ireland and possibly deals with troubles both in the past or modern day, or involves my favorite Irish directors, writers or actors. Do you have your own favorites?
The Boxer: This is one of my sister’s favorite films. Of course it has Daniel Day Lewis who has played everyone from Christy Brown (My Left Foot) to Gerry Conlon (In the Name of the Father) this is one of my favorite roles. He plays Danny Flynn, a former member of the IRA who decides to start a boxing club that tries to bring together a community that has been torn apart. Jim Sheridan directs it and along with Neil Jordan he has brought me some of my favorite films. Great film. Kind of reminds me of The Power of One.
The Commitments: Awesome film. Awesome soundtrack. Awesome band. Based on a book by Roddy Doyle it is about a great little cover band. Cast with a bunch of unknowns such as Andrew Strong and guitarist Glen Hansard (of Once fame), it is a great film that will make you sing along, laugh and cry and immediately go and buy the soundtrack afterward.
In America: I have to have at least one hard core tear jerker and this is it. Jim Sheridan directs this tale about his own life that he wrote with his daughters and the loss of his brother. Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine star, but it also has Emma and Sarah Bolger (of Tudors and now more recently Once Upon a Time fame) and Djimon Honsou. It definitely has some seriousness in it, but there are some great moments such as Halloween, hide and seek and trying to cool off in their small apartment. Completely worth watching.
In Bruges: For some of the best dialogue, you have to watch this film. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes, it is full of action, violence and foul mouthed gangsters, but I love it. On top of being a fun filled ride, enough action to leave me thrilled, it also is both funny and touching.
Boondock Saints: I know some people think this shouldn’t count, but it is a cult favorite and has Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and Willem Dafoe. Enough said. Flanery and Reedus play Connor and Murphy McManus, brothers who decide to rid Boston of gangsters by some hilarious means. Like In Bruges its full of violence, action, humor and foul mouths. Plus any time I can get to see Sean Patrick Flanery without his shirt makes me happy.
The Crying Game: Neil Jordan directed this film starring Stephen Rea, Forest Whitaker and Jaye Davidson. Rea plays Fergus, an IRA volunteer who takes part in the kidnapping of a British soldier, despite plenty of misgivings and a giant reluctance to do so. In order to make up for it he promises to look after the soldier’s girlfriend Dil. Most people know the twist and yet look over the fact that it is a great psychological thriller that explores the idea that not everything is as it seems.
The Magdalene Sisters: Based on actual events, it is the fictional story of three Irish young women who are sent to the Magdalene Asylums for their “crimes”. Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff) is raped by her cousin at a wedding and makes the mistake of telling her family. Rose (Dorothy Duffy) has given birth to an illegitimate child. And Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone) is extraordinarily pretty, her crime being that the local boys flirt with her and the young girls at her orphanage want to brush her hair and be near her. These asylums basically were prisons where the young girls performed slave labor for the Catholic church and were treated horribly. It is a great film, but keep the kleenox box handy.
Honorable Mentions: Once, My Left Foot, The Quiet man, Gangs of New York, Butcher Boy, and Breakfast on Pluto.