Jimmy’s Hall Screen 14 articles

Jimmy’s Hall

2014

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  • Far from a testament to revolutionary ideals, Loach has crafted a ruthless engine of bourgeois self-satisfaction, a nostalgia piece that narrows and flattens a historical moment rather than illuminating it. There’s more genuine rebellion in Kevin Bacon’s dance routines from Footloose.

  • Loach has never made a bad film – or a film for no reason. But his films can only be as good as their subject matter, and the subject matter of Jimmy’s Hall is too slight to bear the weight of what would seem to be a fairly (by Loachian standards) hefty budget. His place in the history of Cannes is assured, as it is in the history of cinema. But in terms of its impact and resonance, Jimmy’s Hall – how I wish I could report otherwise – ends a magnificent career on a somewhat muted note.

  • ...The film plays like a semi-endearing sequel to The Wind that Swept the Barley. It’s Inoffensive completely forgettable, sweet in demeanor but rarely ambitious.

  • Loach's staging is so calm and sober that it turns his story into an expertly photographed yet weirdly remote rebellion tale. Emotional messiness, anger—a sense of something being palpably at stake—are fatally missing. This resigned stateliness has the insidious effect of implying that Jimmy's fate, and by extension the fate of any future subversive, is preordained.

  • This is a very rote cinematic rendition of “The Internationale.” Loach lays on the sentimentality thick in the early stretches, with mournful trumpets from George Fenton’s score setting the maudlin tone, and there’s a stillborn romantic subplot that stubbornly refuses to enrich the main political text.

  • It’d be a shame if [Loach retired] on this particular note, because Jimmy’s Hall is one of his clunkers: Footloose set in 1930s Ireland, basically, with jazz in lieu of Kenny Loggins. That may sound like an upgrade, but Loach is far too earnest a filmmaker to make something this hokey sing.

  • Loach’s 24th fiction feature finds the activist-minded director trafficking in familiar themes of individual liberties, institutional oppression and the power of collective organizing, here infused with a gentle romanticism that buoys the film without cheapening the gravity of its subject.

  • More than just a vehicle of liberation, the music and literacy that Gralton brings to his followers predominantly plays like a form of activism: It gives Gralton credit for spreading his message and celebrates his drive in a larger sense. That's always been the motivating force behind Loach's best work, and while "Jimmy's Hall" doesn't rank that high, it offers a smaller dose of the same talent. The movie's chief triumph is that it manages to salute Gralton's efforts by resurrecting them.

  • As lovely as “Jimmy’s Hall” is, Paul Laverty’s script is not so much talky as speech-y. Some conversations play like bullet points about Irish politics and the iron grip of the Catholic Church. That isn’t always the case, fortunately. The movie glows when people are simply relating to one another, such as when Jimmy dances in the deserted hall with his longtime love, Oonagh (Simone Kirby), after she puts on the fancy dress he bought for her in the States.

  • For Jimmy's Hall we have the enlivening help of cinematographer Robbie Ryan, who offers a more realistic mix of green and brown than the standard verdant Gaelic hues, sudden close-up views of black sods of earth being worked, and spontaneous-seeming outdoor dance leap-ups as kids joyously move. Like the shot of folks on bicycles pedaling away in support of their folk hero Jimmy at the film's conclusion, it's real populism at work.

  • Loach’s matter-of-factness as both a person and an artist is reflected in the reality that, for better or worse, there’s nothing about “Jimmy’s Hall” that suggests a swan song or a grand summation. It’s just another solid Loach film, an affectionate realist portrait of individuals fighting against state and religious oppression.

  • Loach’s film isn’t technically a musical, but it has that same spirit, that same let’s-put-on-a-show vitality. Even its politics come from that world: In its juxtaposition of stodgy, slightly daft conservatism with communal glee and celebration, this isn’t a nuanced, sober work. It’s a film that stacks the deck ideologically, but does so with such energy and freewheeling charm that you roll with it.

  • As usual, Loach and Laverty take a sentimental view of collective political action and a fairly simplistic view of their conservative antagonists, yet the portrait of Gralton and his comrades is so rich and heartfelt that one might easily overlook all the moralizing.

  • Jimmy's Hall is a beautiful and deceptively complex film which expends entirely with the moaning (okay, well not entirely) in order to put pure faith back into the images... This is Loach at his most laid-back and peaceable, as he allows his righteous anger to naturally emerge through the tersely (but effectively) drawn characters and their simple relationships to one another.

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