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Parents' Guide to


By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Drama set in 1960s Northern Ireland has violence, language.

Movie PG-13 2021 97 minutes
Belfast Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 10+
not so good but 10 +
age 14+

What is daily life when you are in a war and 9 years old?

A beautiful film that ebbs and flows with the daily living of a war. A war that takes away and leaves holes. The film stays true to its premise, viewing the civil and political disturbances in late 1960s Belfast through the lens of a 9 year old boy. I wanted a sweeping institutional breakdown of the conflict, but that is not this film. This film deals with the minutiae of living on a street where there is a heavy military presence and the splintering of your community occurs bit by bit, every day. Branagh captures a romanticism, but also the hope that you cling to as you soldier on every day hoping that today is the day the barriers come down.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Seen through the eyes of a young boy, this drama -- set in the late 1960s during the religious conflict in Northern Ireland -- manages to maintain a degree of innocence. There's a scene in Belfast, where Buddy -- played with such aplomb by Hill that it's difficult to believe this is his debut feature film role -- asks about the differences between Protestants and Catholics. In Buddy's mind, it seems crazy that his neighbors are being forced from their homes, simply for following another faith. Indeed, he's far more concerned with gaining the attention of a girl in his class. Of course, for the older characters, life's not so simple. Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe are excellent as Buddy's parents, who are left with the unenviable decision of whether to leave their home or stay and risk the safety of their two sons. And the scenes with Buddy's grandparents -- played by Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds -- pack the film's most emotional and amusing moments.

Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film has been lovingly crafted. Branagh grew up in Belfast, and it's not a stretch to imagine that he channeled much of his own childhood experiences into Buddy. This also gives the film a degree of authenticity, even if the political and religious complexities of "The Troubles" are left relatively untouched. This is, after all -- and unlike how the film is shot -- far from a black-and-white situation. Instead, Branagh focuses on the daily details of his characters' lives: the unpaid tax bill, the family trips to the movies. They all serve as a reminder that these were ordinary people living through extraordinary times, of which Branagh has managed to retell in a superb piece of filmmaking.

Movie Details

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