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Four Days in July (1984)

A catholic and a protestant couple in Northern Ireland have amazing parallels in their lives, despite being either side of the divide.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brid Brennan ...
Des McAleer ...
Paula Hamilton ...
Big Billy (as Brian Hogg)
Adrian Gordon ...
Little Billy
Shane Connaughton ...
Eileen Pollock ...
David Coyle ...
John Keegan ...
Mr. McCoy
John Hewitt ...
Mr. Roper
Ann Hasson ...
Sister Midwife
Geraldine Lidster ...
Stephen Lidster ...


Two couples, one Catholic, one Protestant, exist on two sides of the chasm that is everyday life in Northern Ireland. Both women are expecting babies, both couples tell offbeat stories, both couples get by with what little they have. Yet Mike Leigh allows his actors to show not how much but how little these two couple have in common. "Four Days in July" is wonderful yet scathing look at the turmoil that has engulfed Northern Ireland for generations. Written by Mike Stimler

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Release Date:

7 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Négy nap júliusban  »

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User Reviews

Another low-key realist drama from Mike Leigh
29 November 2015 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

Set in mid-80's Belfast at the height of the Irish Troubles, Four Days in July was the last film that Mike Leigh made for the BBC. The most famous of his output for the corporation were the exquisite comedy-dramas Nuts in May (1976) and Abigail's Party (1977) but as I have worked through the other films, it has become increasingly obvious that those two stellar TV movies aren't necessarily typical examples of Leigh's BBC output. Most are like this very film and are fairly downbeat ultra-realist social dramas. While there are comedy moments, it is just moments and the emphasis is for the most part on the small-scale dramas of working class people. This one is also typical in that it is a slice-of-life and doesn't really have any narrative to speak of.

Set around the July the 12th Orange marching season which celebrates the 1690 victory of William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne; a battle where the Protestant forces defeated their Catholic equivalents. It focuses on two couples from each side of the religious divide, both of whom are expecting their first child. The politics remain mostly in the periphery and it's the more everyday small life details that are the focus. I guess the idea was to show that both sides are peopled with people who are basically very similar, although it would only be fair to say that Leigh's sympathies lie mostly with the Catholic couple in that they are presented as more reasonable. But, on the whole, the conversations and characters could have come from anywhere such is the banalities of their chat. When both couples finally do come into contact with one and other in the hospital there is an uneasy truce of sorts compromising mainly of awkward silences.

While this is well acted and boldly made in a decidedly uncommercial manner, I can't say I found it all that engaging on the whole. Nothing too much of interest happens, and while this may be the point, it did compromise my overall interest in this one.

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