In honour of our national holiday, with thought it only right that we pay tribute to some of our favourite Irish films. Irish film has had one hell of a renaissance of sorts in recent years, so the favourite classics of The Snapper, The Commitments and Intermission are quickly being replaced (though they’ll never really be forgotten).
Sing Street (John Carney, 2016)
When The Commitments did their open casting to get raw Irish talent for their film, it was revolutionary. It was something completely different than Ireland had ever released before, and its legend continues to prevail. Then last year, John Carney gave us Sing Street. A true triumph of a film, with many small nods to its predecessor. The humour, the story, the pure 80s, and the gorgeous songs, Sing Street will similarly be remembered for years to come.
Also, if you’re ever feeling shy, we suggest listening to Drive it Like you Stole it, and we promise you nothing will stand in your way.
Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore, 2014)
I’ve already said Song of the Sea is one of the best animated films of the last 10 years, so naturally it had to be in our Irish favourites. Cartoon Saloon waves the Irish flag within the animation film industry with pride and grace, using its national connection to folklore and illuminated manuscripts to dominate its animated style. In case you hadn’t guessed (or seen), the results are delicately stunning. Paired with an emphasis on the importance emotional development in young boys and the possible results if ignored, and you’ve a true winner.
In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)
Martin McDonagh’s first feature film is hilarious and unbounded in its quotability. After hitting it big in the US, Colin Farrell returns to his true Irish roots and reminds us why he’s one of our favourites. Combined with impeccable performances from Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson, with a script that is pure black comedy gold, In Bruges is a hard one to forget.
Breakfast on Pluto (Neil Jordan, 2005)
The second transgender narrative in Neil Jordan’s repertoire, Breakfast on Pluto turns its entire focus on the experiences of the transgender character instead of the supporting role Jaye Davidson played in The Crying Game. The film highlights the struggles of Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden, but never loses its heart by showing that no matter how much you’re attacked by others, they can never take away your humour or sense of being. Who you are can’t be taken or changed, so you better embrace it regardless of others. Definitely a message we can all get behind!
Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015)
Again, not the first ‘coming to America’ story we’ve seen from Ireland, but Brooklyn is a wonder of a film. It proves for easy watching, with a tight 3-act structure and a ride for the emotions – especially if you’ve ever been (or currently are) away from home. Its period and rural setting allows for additional subplots that allows the audience to relate to the tougher experience many emigrating Irish women had at the time. A huge success worldwide, the film nabbed itself 3 Oscar nominations, including one for Saoirse Ronan’s performance in the lead role.
So that’s it! If you have any favourites of your own or that you love watching on Paddy’s Day, let us know! Now go forth and enjoy the national holiday in whichever way you see fit…