My Favorite Irish Films!

 

Brooklyn (2015) is my new top pick of Irish movies! Saoirse Ronan is luminous as a young Irish immigrant, torn between two men offering two very different futures.

Sing Street (2016) A buoyant, life-affirming musical featuring a crew of Irish schoolboys and a beautiful Irish lass—the 80s-era pop music will have you tapping your feet and singing along. Caution: some scenes of bullying might disturb younger viewers.

 

This is my Father (1999), starring Aidan Quinn and James Caan. Touching and heartbreaking by turns, it's the story of one man's love affair, and his son's search for the father he never knew. A fun cameo appearance by John Cusack, but keep the Kleenex close by.

Leap Year (2009). Super-organized Anna (Amy Adams) butts heads with casual-to- a-fault Declan during their scrappy, plagued-by-"Murphy's Law" journey to Dublin. Fabulous Irish characters and scenery enliven an unexpectedly tender love story.

 

The Eclipse (2009). Ciaran Hinds gives an impeccable performance as a tormented widower in a dark story that mixes the prosaic -- an Irish literary festival -- with the supernatural. Don't miss Aidan Quinn as a bestselling American author going through a drunken meltdown.

 

Ondine (2009). When Irish fisherman Colin Farrell hauls in his catch only to find a beautiful young woman in his nets, his young daughter suspects she's a "selkie," a supernatural creature of Irish legend. The acting...especially Stephen Rea as the world-weary village priest...and Irish locations in County Cork are standouts in this "reality-fairy tale."

In America (2004), starring Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton. Director Jim Sheridan's heartrending, semi-autobiographical account of an Irish family moving to New York. The family's two daughters, real-life sisters Emma and Sarah Bolger, will steal what's left of your heart. Don't miss Sheridan's commentary in the DVD version.

 

About Adam (2002), starring Kate Hudson and Stuart Townsend. Rather goofy farce of three Irish sisters pursuing the same guy. Wonderful Dublin locations, though.

Circle of Friends (1995), starring Minnie Driver and Chris O'Donnell. Three Irish girls find love (or not) in this film version of Maeve Binchy's novel-Colin Firth has a supporting role as a wussy English cad.

Far and Away (1992), starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Film critics weren't particularly kind to director Ron Howard's action-packed romance between two 1890's Irish immigrants-it's said that casting a married couple is box office poison (and Tom as an Irishman is a bit of a stretch, at least at first). But as star-crossed lovers, Tom and Nicole are appealing and completely believable.

The Field (1991), starring Richard Harris, and Dancing at Lughnasa (1998), starring Meryl Streep. Both films, with their themes of family conflict, embody what Irish author Edna O'Brien calls the "innate, ancestral loneliness" of the Irish.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1995). American director John Sayles creates a lovely, atmospheric Irish fable, with breathtaking Irish locations.

The Playboys (1992), starring Aidan Quinn and Robin Wright. Sensitive story of unrequited love and loss.

Agnes Browne (2000), starring Anjelica Huston. A 1960's working class Dublin widow and her comic struggles to raise her unruly brood of seven.

The Commitments (1991). Who knew you could fit so much profanity into one movie? The dialogue and Irish idioms were a hoot-at least the half I could understand.

Waking Ned Devine (1998). Enjoyable, well-acted story of country folk entering the Irish lottery, with comic results all around.

If you're in the mood for something really cheesy, try Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959), and see Sean Connery (unibrowed but still hunky) in his film debut.

The Matchmaker (1997) starring Janeane Garofalo. Filmed on location in Galway, the scenery was fabulous…I wish I could say the same for the story. But the Irish cast of crafty eccentrics is fun to

watch.

 

The Snapper (1992). Colm Meaney stars as the confused Irish patriarch of a large, unruly Dublin family. Touching and hilarious, this film will charm your socks off, as Meaney’s bluster reaches critical mass when his oldest daughter becomes pregnant out-of- wedlock. (The daughter’s frequent pub visits and resulting drunken episodes will make viewers wince, however: can you say, fetal alcohol syndrome?)

The Boys (and Girl) From County Clare (2005). Colm Meaney is back in another comedy, this time as an Irish musician determined to take first place at a “Trad” music competition. His biggest rival is his brother, played by Bernard Hill from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The Irish music is delightful, as is Irish singer Andrea Corr in a subplot about rebellious young love.

 

For Pierce Brosnan fans...Laws of Attraction (2004). Scruffy Pierce and uptight, buttoned-down Julianne Moore have great chemistry in this comedy, playing divorce lawyers on opposing sides. The Nephew (1996), with Pierce in a supporting role. A young American comes to Ireland to reconcile with his uncle, and shakes up the small, rural community. Evelyn (2002). Pierce co-produces and stars in this tender look at an Irish father's legal fight to raise

his children.

And...

For your definitive Irish romance, it's The Quiet Man (1952), starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara at her most fiery, with a priceless Barry Fitzgerald playing the nearest thing to a real-life leprechaun. Terrific interview with O'Hara in the DVD version's special features.

Irish Movies

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