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Cal (John Lynch), a young man on the fringes of the I.R.A., falls in love with Marcella (Dame Helen Mirren), a Catholic woman whose husband, a Protestant policeman, was killed one year earlier by the I.R.A.Written by
Mark Whitnall <email@example.com>
It's interesting to see Irish reviewers' takes on movies like this. I haven't seen Cal in years, but I still listen to the beautiful soundtrack by Mark Knopfler. I put it on this morning, which is why I thought to look up the movie here.
I remember being captivated by the drama of this young kid in over his head, both with the IRA and in his romance with an older woman. The scenes had a raw grittiness that felt very real to me when I saw it in the theater, back in the mid-1980s.
So it's surprising to me to hear the film described by at least one reviewer here as both unlikely and clichéd. And I can't argue with that, in terms of history or culture or politics, because I wasn't there. Anyone who lived in Belfast at the time would surely have a more realistic view of the IRA and of Irish culture than I do.
But this morning, my young son looked up when that first song came on, and gave me a look, like, "What in the world is this?" After the song ended, he said, "Dad, it's so beautiful, it almost hurts." That's how I always felt about Cal. I'm a sucker for anything that's both beautiful and sad. That's how I remember the movie.
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