Review

Set in 1932 “Jimmy's Hall” tells the true story of James Gralton (Barry Ward) who after years of exile in New York returns home to County Leitrim in Ireland. On his return he reopens the Pearse-Connellly Hall. Much to the disapproval of the local Catholic Church the hall plays host to parties, dancing art lessons, poetry reading and political discussion.

Most of the story is about Jimmy's fight with the local church who see his return and the opening of the hall as the work of the devil.

Directed by Ken Loach, who will be 78 years old soon, Jimmy's Hall is rumoured to be his last film. If it does prove to be his last then unfortunately he won't be bowing out on a high. Whilst not bad “Jimmy's Hall” is ordinary at best and probably no better than a Sunday night BBC Drama. It's well acted and beautiful to look at however the big problem is that we never really get to know Jimmy’s character in a way that really makes us care about him. It's hard to see how he is so idolised by those that attend the hall and so demonised by the church and others who don't agree with his political beliefs.

Times have moved on and Jimmy’s fight with the Catholic Church now seems so petty that Jimmy's Hall never hits it off as drama. Loach’s film is shallow easy going drama that only scratches the surface of the tensions in Ireland. If this does turn out to be Loach’s last film it certainly won’t last long in the memory.



Jimmy's Hall (12A)

1h 46m

Director: Ken Loach
Starring: Barry Ward, Simone Kirby, Andrew Scott

UK Release: Friday 30th May 2014