Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe’s new movie looks so beautiful

Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe’s Belfast might be focused on The Troubles, but it promises to be a joyful story about the power of memory.

If you’re on the lookout for a cinematic treat (and, let’s face it, ‘tis well and truly the season to snuggle down in a velvety chair with a box of popcorn in hand), then look no further; Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe have joined forces for a new movie.

As in, yes, The Fall’s Dornan. And as in, yes, Outlander’s Balfe. Don’t say we never treat you, eh?

Here’s what you need to know, then, about Belfast.

What’s the plot of Belfast?

Belfast is “a personal and joyful story about the power of memory, set in late 1960s Northern Ireland,” promises the film’s official synopsis.

It goes on to reveal that Belfast’s focus is on Buddy, “a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, whose life is filled with familial love, childhood hijinks, and a blossoming romance.” 

Belfast charts a boy’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in the Northern Ireland capital.

As you might expect, though, this film doesn’t weave any old coming-of-age story. Because, with his beloved hometown caught up in increasing turmoil, Buddy and his family face a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything they know behind for a new life.

Is there a trailer for Belfast?

“We all have a story to tell, but what makes each one different is not how the story ends, but rather the place where it begins.”

You can watch the emotionally-charged first trailer for Belfast below:

It’s utterly charming, isn’t it?

Who stars in Belfast?

Joining Dornan and Balfe in this heartfelt black-and-white film is Judi Dench (whose dulcet tones are instantly recognisable in the opening moments of the film’s trailer), Jude Hill, Lara McDonnell, and Ciaran Hinds.

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What are people saying about Belfast?

Sir Kenneth Branagh, who wrote and directed the film, has said that it tells his own story, of growing up in Tiger’s Bay, Belfast and being “dragged into adulthood” at the age of eight during the beginning of the Troubles.

“In a way, innocence was lost, things would never be the same again,” he tells Vanity Fair

“It’s something I’ve been trying to understand, as I grow older, that it was a moment when the world tried to insist that you put away childish things, and demanded that you are dragged into this perilous adulthood.”

Caitriona Balfe has said she was “starstruck” filming Belfast with Judi Dench

Branagh adds that it took a pandemic to make him realise it was time to tell his story.

“I found that this lockdown really triggered something for me that reminded me of a fragility in our lives. I felt obliged and compelled to finally revisit this moment,” he says.

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Meanwhile, speaking on the podcast Thanks A Million With Angela Scanlon, Balfe has promised that the film is “really beautiful”.

“It’s sort of based on his [Branagh’s] childhood in Belfast,” she says. “I play his mum and the lovely, lovely Jamie Dornan plays his dad and then Dame Judi Dench plays his granny and Ciaran Hinds plays granddad…

“The whole thing was just so lovely.”

When can we watch Belfast?

Belfast premieres on 12 September at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be in select theatres on 12 November.

Will you be watching?

Images: Universal

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