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Sort of like a Northern Irish version of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN--sweet and endearing
The title character of this film is a girl who looks about 8 years-old and and lives in Northern Ireland. While this region was famous for "the troubles" in the 1970s, there is no sign of this in the movie and everyone in the film seems proud to be part of the UK--even celebrating Elizabeth's coronation.
The main dilemma in the film is Jacqueline's father. He is a binge drinker and this seems to be an attempt to cope with his vertigo (which is a problem, since he works up high at a shipyard) as well as to avoid dealing with his tough life. While I am not excusing his binges, things are made much worse by a horrible neighbor who berates him and calls him a drunk, a mother-in-law who actively encourages her daughter to leave him and a wife who loves him BUT also doesn't stand up to her mother's interference nor tell her old boyfriend to back off (he pays WAY too much attention to her and seems to be waiting for her to leave her husband).
Fortunately, despite all these depressing elements, the film is magical and sweet. Sure, there are many tough scenes, but unlike many other films about problem drinkers, this one isn't cut and dry AND there is a strong sense of hope. It also comes to life because there are so many wonderful characters and side stories that make the whole town and its people come to life. I really liked the minister, as he was so atypical and human compared to other clergymen in films. I also liked the Flannagans--the final scene between the husband and wife was wonderful. If it weren't for the fact that the movie started a bit slowly, the film might have even merited a 9 due to a great script and direction. A little find indeed.
By the way, this film reminds me of the American film A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, as both films are about young girls and how they cope with a loving father who has a drinking problem. While I loved JACQUELINE, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN was such a terrific film that few films from the era can come close to matching its brilliance and simplicity. My advice is see BOTH films. They are different enough that there is plenty of reason to see both.
NOTE: This isn't the easiest film for people like me to watch. I have been rapidly losing my hearing in recent years and when I see films where there are British and Irish accents, I have a hard time following the film unless there are closed captions. Sadly, JACQUELINE is not captioned and so it was a struggle to watch the film and understand exactly what was being said. While the main characters were all pretty understandable, some of the supporting cast had stronger accents and it was hard to follow. I assume similar problems must exist for hard of hearing Brits as they watch American films with strong accents and no captioning. So older people and younger people with hearing losses might find this film a tad frustrating.
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