Here in Chicago, we dye the Chicago River a bright green every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. The city swells with thousands of tourists who come for the festivities, which include a big parade. That’s why I’m always a little surprised when the 17th rolls around and I remember that THIS is actually St. Patrick’s Day!
If you’ve gotten your partying out of the way already, then perhaps you’d like to settle in with a Guinness and some stew for one of these lucky 7 Irish movies:
Belfast – New at Redbox, this Best Picture front-runner (among 6 other Oscar nominations) from Kenneth Branagh was inspired by his childhood in Northern Ireland during the start of The Troubles.
Michael Collins – Liam Neeson stars as the real-life politician and soldier who fought for Irish independence from Britain … and who many deem responsible for the “Bloody Sunday” assassinations of British intelligence officers in 1920.
Float Like a Butterfly – An emotional rollercoaster of an unusual tale about an Irish Traveler (think “gypsy”) who dreams of becoming the female version of Muhammad Ali in the boxing ring.
Sing Street – Enough serious movies! The Irish are known for enjoying the craic, after all! (“The craic” is a fairly undefinable Irish term, but everyone would agree it represents “good times” at the very least.) This one is SUCH a great movie with a soundtrack I still listen to years after seeing it. Plus, it’s streaming free with ads on redbox.com right now! It’s about an Irish teenager (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who’s inspired by ‘80s bands from America and needs to decide if he’s going to try and make a career out of music or take the safer route.
Once – If you haven’t seen this movie yet you need to stop everything and watch it. I guarantee it will make you smile. And talk about a great soundtrack—every single song from the leading couple (Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, otherwise known as The Swell Season) is amazing. No wonder the film won the Best Original Song Oscar, specifically for “Falling Slowly.” As it were, Irish filmmaker John Carney directed both this movie and Sing Street, so he clearly knows something about music. Once tells the story of a lovelorn Irish street busker who finds the perfect musical match in a shy flower-seller.
Wild Mountain Thyme – Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan star in this Ireland-set rom-com that has such a strange twist you just need to see it to bee-lieve it. (That was a hint.)
Waking Ned Devine – We’ll end this list with a hilarious tale of Irish tomfoolery. It begins when two elderly friends (Ian Bannen and David Kelly) discover that a man who bought the winning lottery ticket in their small town has died of shock. They then persuade all of their neighbors to keep the death quiet in order to convince the lottery inspectors that one of them is the winner so that everyone can split the windfall.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We hope you find a cinematic pot o’ gold with one of these movies!