Movies I watched to better understand and enjoy my travels to Ireland, in May 2022

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Michael Collins | Neil Jordan – Director

Summary: Ireland, 1916. His dreams inspired hope. His words inspired passion. His courage forged a nation’s destiny. A Biographical film depicting the life of Michael Collins, head of the early version of the IRA.

Recommendation: I recently visited the GPO in Dublin where portions of this movie was filmed.  I watched this movie to better understand the struggles of the Irish people during a time of great turmoil in their country. It was a fight for representation, expression and freedom.  This movie was extremely enlightening for understanding the times.  My only reservation was the choice of Julia Roberts as the main actress. She struggles with the Irish dialect and a native Irish woman actress could have done a much better job with this role.  Overall, a good movie for history buffs.

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Belfast | Kenneth Branagh – Director, Producer, Writer

Summary: BELFAST is a movie straight from Branagh’s own experience. A nine-year-old boy must chart a path towards adulthood through a world that has suddenly turned upside down. His stable and loving community and everything he thought he understood about life is changed forever but joy, laughter, music and the formative magic of the movies remain.

Recommendation: On my flight over to Belfast, I watched this movie. It is a poignant story of love, laughter, and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the music and social tumult of the late 1960s. This movie provided a primer to the tour of the wall that still divides the communities today. The guides were from both sides of the issues, one a IRA convicted prisoner and one Loyalist convicted prisoner.  Each guide had expressed their story during this time in Ireland’s history and their stories were as fascinating and griping as the movie.

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Suffragette | Sarah Gavron – Director

Summary: In early 20th-century Britain, the growing suffragette movement forever changes the life of working wife and mother Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan). Galvanized by political activist Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Watts joins a diverse group of women who fight for equality and the right to vote. Faced with increasing police action, Maud and her dedicated suffragettes must play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, risking their jobs, homes, family and lives for a just cause.

Recommendation: During my recent stay in Dublin, Ireland, I went on a crime tour of the city.  Our guide recommended this movie and I watched it on the 8 hour flight home.  It really paints a picture of the women’s movement in Ireland. These were committed very tough women who fought for recognition and rights during a time of upheaval in Ireland. Out of the three movies I am recommending to better understand the struggles of Ireland’s people, this was by far my favorite.  I watched the movie on the long fight home and cried in my seat. It is truly an inspiration that women like this stood up for the future generations of women to come. Bravo to these bold souls.

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