Watch the reaction of some of the first people to see Belfast film on official UK release date

The News Letter spoke to some of the first members of the public in Northern Ireland to see Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast film on its official release date today.

By Graeme Cousins
Friday, 21st January 2022, 6:21 pm

It got a resounding thumbs up from people who’d viewed it and those who hadn’t seen it yet were keen to do so as soon as possible.

At the Odeon cinema in Belfast’s Victoria Square, the News Letter learnt that as of lunchtime today 106 people were booked for the 7.30pm screening and a further 75 for the 8.30pm showing, with even more expected tomorrow and Sunday.

Allison Robinson from the Sandy Row said: “I thought it was a lovely film with a lovely cast. It took me back to when I was a girl.

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Allison Robinson said Buddy reminded her of her grandson

“It was very emotional. The thought of all the people who left Belfast ... and the ones who stayed.

“A whole lot of it rings true. It brought back a lot of memories.”

She added: “Buddy is a real star. He reminded me of my grandson.”

Ena Manion is looking forward to seeing the film with her daughter tonight.

Ena Manion is looking forward to seeing the film with her daughter

She had come to the Odeon yesterday to book her tickets.

Ena from the Shankill Road said: “I’m looking forward to seeing it to bring back memories.”

Both Ena and her daughter agreed that they’d enjoy seeing Jamie Dornan on the big screen.

Lorraine Patterson, who is from the Stranmillis area, spoke to the News Letter on her way into the cinema. She said she was excited about taking a trip down memory lane.

(L to R) Writer/director Kenneth Branagh, actor Lewis McAskie, actor Jude Hill, actor Judi Dench, actor Jamie Dornan, and actor Caitríona Balfe on the set of BELFAST, a Focus Features release. Credit: Rob Youngson/Focus Features

“I’m looking forward to a big of nostalgia,” she said. “It’s been getting really good reviews. I wanted to get down and see it as early as possible.”

Jonathan Lamont from Belfast stopped for a chat on the way out of the Odeon.

He said: “It was very good, I thought the acting was very good. I thought the young lad as Buddy was superb.

“Some of it was quite nostalgic and historical, well worth going to see.”

Writer/director Kenneth Branagh on the set of BELFAST, a Focus Features release. Credit: Rob Youngson/Focus Features

Robert McClelland from Ahoghil said he enjoyed the film.

“It was just exactly the way it was in those days,” said Robert who was in his early 20s when the film is set – 1969.

Outside Northern Ireland, the film has received largely positive reviews.

Some reviewers have questioned the lack of prominence given to the Troubles while others have praised it for the same reason.

Empire’s Ian Greer, who gave the movie four out of five, writes: “Belfast doesn’t tell a linear yarn; instead, it’s an assemblage of anecdotes and moments that will charm and spark with wherever and whenever you grew up.

“The Troubles serves as an undercurrent rather than a leading player, making Belfast much more of a memory movie than a political diatribe.”

Robbie Collin, chief film critic at The Telegraph gave the film three out of five.

He said: “This autobiographical period piece is oddly impersonal, but the cast, and one marvellous scene in a social club, make it worth catching.”

Based on 16,000 reviews to date, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) rating for Belfast is 7.4 out of 10.

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