There is no doubt that the movie industry has a strong connection to the people of Ireland. Whether its Irish actors, writers, directors, cameramen or the country being a host for small local movies or big Hollywood dramas, it is something that we ought to be proud of. Our little island has inspired some brilliant movies, both past and present. However, since the pandemic, there has been a big push to celebrate and support local Irish products and I believe this should include Irish-made movies.
There are many female-led movies being released this year. An Cailín Ciúin is the film adaptation of Foster by Claire Keegan which many people might recognise from the Leaving Cert English curriculum! It tells the story of a ten-year-old girl who lives with her aunt and uncle for a summer in 1980s Ireland. It explores key tensions such as rural versus urban life, blood-related family and chosen family, as well as transitioning from a young child to a pre-teen.
Wildfire is another movie everyone should see. The movie tells the tale of a woman returning from being missing and she creates a greater bond with her sister. As they begin to reminisce about their dead mother, a dangerous truth is revealed and the sisters must stick together to get through it. This is set in counties that border Northern Ireland and explores estranged family relations and how violence can play a part in daily life.
The Wonder is the second book adaptation on this list. Written by Emma Donoghue, the story is about a British nurse Libby, who aids a young girl who has been starving herself for months. It explores Ireland in the late 1800s and how we were as a nation under British rule before the Rising. It explores the extreme religious beliefs people had, and how people lived in poverty and oppression, with each character learning something from the extreme actions of the young girl they look after.
Lastly, Rose Plays Julie conveys the journey of a university student who goes to find her birth parents. When she makes some strides in learning about her heritage, she faces some hard truths in building her relationship with her birth mother. She learns about being put up for adoption and the violent partnership her parents have. This movie explores the dark side of family, but especially the difficult relationship some women can have with their mothers.
There are also many Irish actors breaking major film boundaries this year. Jessie Buckley from Killarney has made a name for herself after her role in The Lost Daughter, which has her nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars. Colin Farrell’s most recent role as The Penguin in The Batman (2022) has just made his name known to another generation of moviegoers. Barry Keoghan has also landed many major Hollywood roles but has had his real break in the industry for being cast as the Joker in The Batman (2022). Ruth Negga starred in Passing, a very underrated movie of 2021 in terms of public viewing but has gained the attention of major critics and award personnel as it has been nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards and British Academy Film Awards! Wherever you can, whenever you can, try to keep an eye out for some Irish faces in the industry!
Sophie Melia – Film and TV Correspondent