Buddy (Jude Hill) is a young boy growing up in 1960's Belfast in the midst of local rioting between Protestants and Catholics. His mother (Caitriona Balfe) wants her family to say in Belfast, it's all she's even known, but his father (Jamie Dornan) wants them to leave.
This is a deeply personal film for writer/director Kenneth Branagh, and critics are already calling this the Best Picture front runner. Because of Branagh's connections to the story, and it's black and white setting, it's getting compared to Roma. Thankfully the comparisons stop there. The story is wildly different.
The film is set from Buddy's eyes. Even though he's not always on screen, vital information is given to us in bits and pieces, much like a child would overhear. Jude Hill gives an extraordinary performance. He's fun, curious, and has plenty of worries. He was my favorite thing about the film Balfe also gives a great performance as the mother that is keeping everything together. Dornan is the same as he always is. Card board, but in black and white.
I really enjoyed Buddy's scenes with his grandparents, played by Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds. They never get overly sentimental, but are so heartfelt. The film's best shots are when the family goes to the cinema together, and we finally get some bits of color instead of the dull black and white everything is shot in.
Yes, shocker, I'm complaining about contemporary black and white again. I just don't care for it. I appreciated a lot about this movie, but I also think it might be a bit over praised. There are scenes that feel like they're shot for trailers, and not to further the story along. Dornan and Colin Morgan, who plays Pa's adversary so to speak were just dull. Thankfully Hill, Balfe, Dench and Hinds are here to liven things up and I did laugh quite a bit. It's fine, but it's nowhere near my favorite of the year.
Memorable quote: "What in the hell is a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?" - Granny (Judi Dench)