Everyone has a different relationship with the place they grew up. For some it's a warm hug of nostalgia, for others, it's something they escaped from and never need to go back to. But for those in Sir Kenneth Branagh's Belfast, it's a little complicated.
Set during the start of The Troubles in 1969, this is a story that is deeply personal to Branagh, with plenty of inspiration coming from the director's own life. You could easily consider our lead, nine-year-old Buddy, a representation of Branagh himself. If that sounds all a bit too self-indulgent, you'd be arguing against seven Oscar noms (including a win for Best Screenplay) and a 92% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Give it a chance when it arrives on Netflix on November 25th.
Growing up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles must have been a unique experience and this movie does give a real sense of the duality of the situation. Buddy plays games, falls for a girl and at times enjoys a normal childhood while all around him is the threat of violence. Personally, I can't help but draw some comparisons to the equally excellent Jojo Rabbit (on Disney+)
While Branagh is behind the camera (and Van Morrison on soundtrack duties), he has also assembled an exceptional cast to trust with a story so close to his heart. Jamie Dornan, Caitríona Balfe and Dame Judi Dench are the big names but child star Jude Hill is also superb in the lead role. If you're put off by the black-and-white colour palette, please don't be. This isn't a snooty movie, it's a working-class story about ordinary people.
Netflix is currently doing a good job of cementing its status as one of the best streaming services. It has already added a historic Ocar-Winner with 99% on Rotten Tomatoes earlier this month, and David Fincher's latest flick is also set to debut this November.