Film Review: Jimmy’s Hall (2014)

This film by British director Ken Loach will be welcomed by those who would like a change from the films and TV shows from the UK that portray upper class life. Based on a true story, it deals with life in an impoverished Irish village in the depression-era 1930’s when a young rebel Jimmy Gralton returns from a self-imposed exile in the US and reopens a hall for the local community where they conduct classes but also have fun such as dances.

Naturally this attempt by the poor to take some control over their lives runs afoul of the Catholic priest and church hierarchy and the local bigwigs and they identify Grafton as the ringleader and plot to bring him down and shut the hall. The film’s message is that ordinary people will not win every or even most of the struggles with their exploiters but that the human spirit and desire for justice and freedom will never be defeated and will well up with every new generation.

Here’s the trailer for the film.

Loach is a socialist and his film is frankly political and class-based. He is clearly drawing a parallel with current times. Take this clip, where the locals come to the aid of a family with five children who were evicted from their cottage by the big landowner after falling into arrears with their rent. Replace Ireland with US in the speech and it rings true for current times.

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