Earlier this year, Fifty Shades of Grey heartthrob Jamie Dornan showed off a skill new to the world: singing. All it took was a hilarious musical number in Barb and Star go to Vista del Mar for the man to lodge himself into the public’s minds yet again-- this time as a song and dance man. Now it looks like he’ll be using those skills in the world of drama, alongside Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe, Dame Judi Dench, and Ciarán Hinds, in writer/director Kenneth Branagh’s latest film, Belfast.
As seen in the trailer released by Focus Features, Belfast is a slice of life film that takes place in the Irish city that it takes its name from. Set in 1969, and looking to tackle the subject of living during the 1969 Northern Ireland Riots, the story looks to be following a little boy named Buddy (newcomer Jude Hill) and how he and his family are changed by this moment in history. With that first look in mind, it feels like Belfast will definitely have some heartwarming family energy. Though at the same time, you just know you’re going to need tissues for when it gets to the sadness that lies underneath what this trailer has to offer.
Throughout the trailer for Belfast, two different movies come to mind. At first, the film looks like it could be Kenneth Branagh’s spin on what Alfonso Cuarón did with his Academy Award winning picture Roma. Both are very personal stories about living through times of massive upheaval, and the slick black and white look to Belfast matches that of Roma to a tee. So again, you’re probably going to cry as much as you will laugh while watching it.
But then another film, coincidentally another Academy Award candidate from the past, comes into frame: 2015’s Saoirse Ronan starring drama, Brooklyn. This is especially true as Belfast seems to be teasing a thread where Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan’s characters are considering leaving Ireland, potentially for the United States, in hopes of a better future. That’s not to say that Belfast is derivative, but rather that it’s another film that fits into the mold of memory pieces from a time not so long ago, reflecting on the sweet and the sad in equal measure.
There’s a great sadness that feels like it’s waiting to spring out around every corner of Belfast’s seemingly idyllic reflections. As Kenneth Branagh has once again assembled an all-star cast to tell a story he’s obviously thrilled to engage in, this trailer is enough to suck in anyone who’s remotely interested in these sorts of films. And for everyone else, there’s Jamie Dornan, singing and dancing his heart out, with so much charm that you can practically ignore the heartache that will undoubtedly be presented at one point or another.
You’ll get your chance to see your spirits soar, and have your heart broken, when Belfast is released in theaters on November 12th. That’s just in time to spur the tears and awards talk that come with such a lofty film, but you’ll probably want to check out what other contenders will be in theaters around that time. So head over to the 2021 release schedule, where the only crying you’ll be doing is when you notice that Top Gun: Maverick has moved into 2022.
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