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MADE IN BELFAST - Erin Go, Go, Go!

There's something about Ireland. Perhaps it's the Leprechaun Lore. Maybe it's a personal fascination with The Quiet Man. Or, the redhead, the staple of every young man's amorous urges since Athena and Aphrodite were first imbued with ginger locks.

And if anyone can wade past the Byzantine history of The Emerald Island, and ignore the plethora of films and TV series Hell-bent on describing the country as one big Looney Tunes explosion, the charm of the Irish will have you drinking dark beer and learning how to play snooker.

Made in Belfast is a small movie. It involves scenes of no more than a half-dozen. The film moves along at a modest pace. The cast is unknown and, save for fetching leading lady, Shauna MacDonald, is IRISH with a capital "I." Forgive her. Ms. MacDonald (Alice) is a self-admitted Scot.


The movie is a charmer.

Jack Kelly (Ciarán McMenamin), successful novelist, leaves (reluctantly) his Paris digs to return to Belfast. His father is in hospice. Time is short. His conflict arises from what could be termed the cinematic Irish upbringing. Hard-drinking and abusive Dad. Cowed Mom. Near invisible Brother. He fled his ancestral home leaving behind a jilted fiance (Shauna MacDonald as the heart-broken Alice), a ruined best friendship (Paul Kennedy), and a younger sibling (Shaun Blaney as Petesy) with a sense of abandonment . . . and that's being kind.

Over the 82 minute run of the movie, Jack a complete narcissist, learns the power of human forgiveness. He's been, as the English like to say, "A complete bounder." But his big-hearted, four-leaf clover picking, brogue-speaking, freckle-tattooed friends won't ever let him forget the destructive power of his misdeeds.

Until they do.

Made in Belfast is a lovely film of redemption; the power of human kindness; and the beauty (inside and out) of a woman no man deserves.

But as a man who's been married to that woman for 36 years, we do eventually earn that honor.


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