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Image / Editorial

Staying in tonight? These five films will make you proud to be Irish


by Grace McGettigan
17th Mar 2019
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St Patrick’s Day festivities are underway across the country, but parades aren’t for everyone. For some, the thought of squeezing through crowded streets of excited revellers is torturous, so let’s not even go there. Instead, why not cosy up on the sofa with good food and a film? If you like the sound of that, check out some of these gems that would make you proud to be Irish.

In America

Directed by Jim Sheridan, this heartwarming film tells the tale of an Irish family who move to Manhattan, New York, in the hope of a better life. Parents Johnny and Sarah are of modest means, and they work incredibly hard to afford little luxuries such as a functioning shower and air-conditioner. While they help their daughters Christy and Ariel adjust to life Stateside, they must also mourn the loss of Frankie, their only son. He passed away before the move and his death plays a huge role in their actions going forward. Meanwhile, the two little girls befriend an African-American man who lives downstairs. Angry and unkind at first, Mateo soon warms to the children. Soon the audience sees that friendship can take many forms and that anyone can be kind if only given the chance.

Inside I’m Dancing

This film is also known as Rory O’Shea Was Here, but whatever you choose to call it, we recommend you watch it. This Irish comedy-drama reinforces the idea that anything is possible, and that you should always go for what you want in life (no matter what boundaries are in your way). The plot revolves around two young, wheelchair-bound men who escape institutional living in pursuit of physical and emotional independence. It’s full of laugh-out-loud moments as well as emotional scenes that will make you burst.

My Left Foot

Daniel Day Lewis’ performance as Christy Brown secured him the Best Actor prize at the Oscars in 1990. The film documents the real-life story of an Irishman born with cerebral palsy. The only part of his body that he has full control over is his left foot which he uses it to write, and, more importantly, to paint. Christy is a talented artist, but coming from a working-class area where there is little understanding of people with disabilities, it takes years for his talent to be fully recognised. The film is upsetting in parts, but also uplifting as Christy’s family pull together to support him. Brenda Fricker, who plays the part of his mother, paid tribute to the real Brown family while accepting her own Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Once

This 2007 romantic musical drama stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová as two struggling musicians in Dublin. The pair cross paths while he’s busking on Grafton Street and she’s selling flowers – before long, they develop a close friendship. As time passes and music is played, they begin to fall in love despite encountering hiccups along the way. The film is worth a watch for its soundtrack alone, which is so moving it earned an Oscar and a Critics’ Choice Award. The story is inspiring too and has since been adapted into an immensely popular Broadway stage show, taking home numerous Tonys. 

Brooklyn

Before she was Lady Bird, Saoirse Ronan was Eilis Lacey. Brooklyn is a film about a young Irish immigrant finding her feet in New York’s most populous borough. She falls in love with a charming local, Tony Fiorello, who she meets at a dance. Just as things begin to get serious between them, she must return home for a family emergency. Now on her natural side of the Atlantic, Eilis must choose what she wants most – the family comfort in her hometown, or the possibility of love and freedom abroad. It’s a beautiful portrayal of an Irish woman’s pursuit of happiness.