Three Heartfelt Films to Watch This St. Patrick’s Day in Celebration of the Irish Immigrant Story
Enjoy a warm and fuzzy movie after all the food, drinks, and festivities
St. Patrick’s Day paints North America in shades of green, Irish cultural symbols, and traditional Irish fare for one special day of the year. Awash with green and revelries, March 17 is also a day to reflect on the Irish immigrant experience.
What better way to do so than with three terrific films to watch, with each heartwarmingly and artfully touching on the Irish immigrant story. While specific in theme, they each, however, explore aspects that everyone can relate to.
1 | Brooklyn (2015)
In 1950s New York City, an Irish immigrant, played by the talented Saoirse Ronan, must choose between a new life in Brooklyn and that of the one she leaves behind. Caught between a rock and a hard place, she must contend with everything that comes with a new life, from a new job to a first love.
Brooklyn received widespread critical acclaim when it first premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Further nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, Brooklyn is a film that will move you to tears and remind you of the value of family — and the pressures of having to make life-changing decisions.
2 | Far and Away (1992)
Across epic panoramas and enchanting soundtracks, powerhouse actor Tom Cruise and iconic actress Nicole Kidman — as a then real-life couple — costar in the 1992 melodrama Far and Away. After the passing of his farmer father, Joseph (Cruise) leaves Ireland with his landlord’s daughter (Kidman) for America, with aspirations of acquiring property during the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889.
They must navigate monumental barriers of class, self-image, and love — everything that is at stake with their story of immigration. As the two make their way to their final destination, they stop in Boston. While there, Joseph takes up boxing to provide financial support. However, hardship comes knocking hard on their door after the loss of a significant fight. They must then find new ways to get by as a life-long pair. As their love intensifies in this period piece, Joseph begins to wonder if he is actually what Shannon needs in her life.
3 | In America (2002)
This semi-autobiographical and critically-acclaimed film is the work of Irish director Jim Sheridan. Sharing a similar story with that of Brooklyn, in this immensely moving story, the family relocates from Ireland to a tenement in New York City, such that the father can pursue his ambition of becoming an actor. This all takes place with the backdrop of grieving the death of one of his children, to which the Irish family must learn to adjust to a whole new life on the rough streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
Tearjerkers: They’re not the obvious choice after cheery, comedic celebrations but they’re wonderfully cathartic. And these movies do just that and more.