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Set in Belfast in 1972, the politically naïve Bernie is trying to bring up a normal family in less than normal surroundings. Her best friend is accidentally shot dead by the IRA, and her neighbours are constantly raided by the army. In this climate of fear and confusion, she dares to stand up and condemn the killings. Criticising both factions equally, her public call for a ceasefire is interpreted by many as an attack against the IRA, and as her fledgling peace movement takes momentum, she and her family are placed in the frontline. Written by
Emotional depiction of the Irish struggle from a familial perspective
"Titanic Town" is the real-life story of Bernie McPhelimy, a Belfast mother who was the driving force behind an anti-violence initiative of the 1970's. (The film draws its name from its city of location, where the "Titanic" was built at the Harland & Wolff shipyards.) Bernie is a witness to several military raids within both her neighborhood and her own home. The film shows how her feelings of indignancy are ignited and herself propelled--rather too quickly--into a spiral of Irish politics and intrigue. "Titanic Town" does an excellent job of demonstrating how one's own emotions, the news media and circumstantial events work to transform an ordinary individual into a national controversy. Performances by Julie Walters (as Bernie McPhelimy), newcomer Nuala O'Neill (as her daughter), and Ciaran McMenamin (as an IRA activist) are particularly well done. Strong supporting work is given by Ciaran Hinds, as Bernie's spent and sickly husband. Adeptly directed by Roger Michell ("Notting Hill"), "Titanic Town" may be somewhat dated from a topical standpoint, but its presentation of the Irish conflict in most human of terms makes it a more than worthy watch. It is a brave story, about a brave (if somewhat belligerent) people, which will elicit compassion, sympathy and respect from nearly any viewer.
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