As Netflix continues to update its catalogue, it has been announced that Kenneth Branagh’s “most personal” movie, Belfast, is coming to the streamer later this month.
The film is set during the start of The Troubles in Ireland in 1969 and follows the story of a young boy, Buddy, experiencing childhood as the sectarian violence starts. In it, both sides of the divide, Protestant and Catholic, are touched on, with Buddy’s family coming under the bracket of the former. However, everyone is affected by what occurred after the August 1969 riots.
As Kenneth Branagh grew up as the son of working-class Protestant parents in Belfast during The Troubles, Belfast has a particularly personal essence. In fact, Branagh’s family were so affected by what was unfolding that in early 1970, when he was aged nine, they moved to Berkshire, England, to escape the violence.
Many fans and critics have drawn clear parallels between the stories of Buddy in Belfast and Branagh’s real life, and it is because of this tangible nature that the movie was a success with audiences. It was nominated for seven Oscar Nominations, including ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director’. Currently holding a 92% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it continues Netflix’s present run of adding acclaimed films to its roster.
Helping to bring Belfast to life are Jamie Dornan, Caitríona Balfe and Dame Judi Dench, with child actor Jude Hill exceptional as Buddy. Adding to the magic, Northern Irish musician Van Morrison composed the film’s score.
Branagh explained to the NME in 2022: “It’s been a place that calls to me all the time, even though really after the first few years of my career I don’t think the larger world had any sense that I was even from there.”
He continued: “When I went back in 2011 I still felt as though there was a sort of identity crisis that was unresolved. Ireland and the Irish define so much of themselves in relation to home – it needs to be settled in some way. And I think making this film is a chance for me to go home in a sort of more honest way.”
Watch the trailer for Belfast below.