It’s no coincidence that Brooklyn the Oscar-nominated drama about a woman (Saoirse Ronan, outstanding) torn between her native Ireland and her life in the title borough, came to home video two days before St. Patrick’s Day.
It joins a very long list of excellent Irish or Irish-themed movies, any of which would be a great choice to bring to your TV or home-video system for the luck o’ the Irish. Here are a few titles to get you started:
This drama, with the Oscar winning song Falling Slowly, is also an achingly sweet romance that argues a connection can be transformative even if it doesn’t last forever.
A gorgeous ensemble cast, comedy/drama about a groups of Dubliners whose lives are interconnected. It stars a batch of Irish actors in memorable roles, including Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy, Kelly Macdonald, Colm Meaney, and a token Scot, Shirley Henderson.
In the Name of the Father
You could go for another Daniel Day-Lewis film, My Left Foot but this riveting political drama gives you bonus performances from Pete Postlethwaite, as the father of a man (Day-Lewis) forced into confessing to an IRA bombing. There's also Emma Thompson, fiercely intelligent as the lawyer who fights for the innocent man.
The Troubles have been the subject of many great Irish films (I’d also include the Gillian Anderson-starring “Shadow Dancer,” about spies and counterspies in the Irish fight for independence). Directed by Paul Greengrass (who also directed The Bourne Ultimatum), this dramatisation of a massacre at an Irish demonstration is gripping and sad.
The Secret of Roan Inish
Set in Donegal, this sweet and tender family drama is about a girl who becomes convinced her baby brother’s disappearance is connected to a local legend about seals who become human.
Two brothers must start afresh when their mother dies. Anthony, the elder brother, is much more practical, while his younger brother Damien prefers to use his imagination. One day, a suitcase of money literally falls out of the sky, setting them off on an adventure that explores why wealth has nothing to do with money.
My Left Foot
No one expects much from Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), a boy born with cerebral palsy who is essentially paralysed. One day, at five years old, he shows there's one body part he can control: his left foot. Defying all odds, the one person no one thought anything of, makes something of himself and becomes a painter, poet and author.
Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) decides to start an R&B group in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland. Although off to a rocky start, the band comes together but ends up being made up of musicians who have little experience with R&B. Eventually, relationships are tested as they prepare for their big show.
PS. I Love You
A young woman, Holly (Hilary Swank), feels her life ended when her Irish husband, Gerry (Gerard Butler), dies at just 35 years old. One day, quite unexpectedly, she receives a message from him from beyond the grave, which is followed by more messages that challenges her and helps her live again.