Film & TV

British Film Festival Review: Jimmy’s Hall

Returning to Ireland after an enforced exile in America, social activist Jimmy decides to reopen a village hall to bring much-needed happiness back into the community.


BFF-JimmysHallReturning to Ireland after an enforced exile in America, Jimmy (Barry Ward) looks forward to returning home. Away for a decade, he finds his homeland in 1932 in dire need of some happiness.

A social activist, he aims to re-open a local village hall so his fellow villagers can use it for various community events. Frowning on this ‘dangerous interloper’ are Father Sheridan (Jim Norton) and others who abhor any notion of socialism. Battling opposition with fierce intensity, Jimmy determines to unite his beloved village in any way possible.

Directed by Ken Loach, Jimmy’s Hall utilises his skill for realism. He presents a story steeped in a history still resonating. The battle between Jimmy and Father Sheridan mirrors the enduring war between rich and poor. One side wants everyone to fulfil their potential while another wants to stymie it. Sheridan represents a stern view of stamping out individual thought by exerting his self-proclaimed authority. He doesn’t realise that those he preaches to have the real power to change if they seek it.

The hall becomes a symbol for free thought and Jimmy’s forthright assertiveness. The performers do a fine job in conveying their characters’ ideals with both viewpoints effectively shown. The psychological battleground is complemented by startling cinematography highlighting the lushness of the Irish countryside. It’s easy seeing why Jimmy returned to such a picturesque place and why he aims to ensure his friends can fully enjoy their surrounds.

The best style of film is one informing while telling a gripping tale. Jimmy’s Hall is one such movie. It’s an interesting slice of history with its message of striving for continual personal improvement – something everyone should aspire to.

Jimmy’s Hall will screen on 11 & 13 November 2014 as part of the Emirates British Film Festival, exclusively at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.

Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Twitter: @PatrickMoore14

Rating out of 10: 7


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