Post movie critic Ann Hornaday compiled a list of her favorite movies set in, relating to, or starring actors from Ireland.
“ONCE”: This lilting, utterly beguiling musical introduced the world to folk musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who play a busker and a winsome Czech housecleaner with a mutual love of music that turns into something more. Full of bittersweet tunes, sardonic wit and a sense of Irish Tiger-era globalism, “Once” gets into your head and stays there.
“THE SHORE”: Cynics may think that a ringer won the live-action short film Oscar this year when Terry George (“The Boxer,” “Hotel Rwanda”) took home the award for “The Shore.” But even those naysayers wouldn’t be immune to the charms of this lovely meditation on past loves and felicitous misunderstandings, starring Ciaran Hinds (again) as a man returning to his seaside home town to reconnect with an old flame.
“The COMMITMENTS”: Alan Parker’s adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s novel stands as one of the greatest music movies ever, featuring Robert Arkins as Jimmy Rabbitte, whose quixotic quest to form the greatest band Dublin has ever known results in an infectiously soulful tribute to American R&B. Don’t forget to check out the Rabbitte family “sequels”: “The Snapper” and “The Van.”
“THE SECRET OF KELLS”: This Oscar-nominated animated film — brimming with stunning, stylized imagery — tells the story of a young boy living in medieval Ireland, where barbarians threaten to invade and where, on a quest to help a master illuminator complete the titular book, he meets a mysterious wolf-girl in the forest.
“THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY”: Ken Loach’s masterfully executed story of the early Irish Republican Army marks a rare foray into historical drama from a filmmaker best known for his contemporary political polemics.
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