10 Movies to Watch Before You Study Abroad in Dublin

Feb 18, 2014 9:03:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Studying abroad in Dublin? One of our favorite ways to drum up our excitement about a new location is through movies! Enjoy a rainy evening at home with one of our 10 movie recommendations below.

1. MY LEFT FOOT (JIM SHERIDAN, 1989). The film tells the story of Christy Brown, born in 1932 with cerebral palsy into an impoverished and large working class family. Almost his entire body is affected, although he retains control over his left foot which, remarkably, he uses to paint with. This gives his life meaning. This uplifting film shies away from sentimentality and is often cited as single-handedly reviving the Irish film industry. Both Daniel Day Lewis and Brenda Fricker were awarded an Academy Award for their extraordinary performances in the film.

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2. THE COMMITMENTS (ALAN PARKER, 1991).
Based on Roddy Doyle’s best-selling book, the film charts the rise and fall of a young group of Dublin working class musicians coming together to form a blues band. The film’s humour and the sheer talent of the cast of largely unknown actors and musicians, including future Oscar winner Glen Hansard, give a great insight into 1990s Dublin.

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3. THE DEAD (JOHN HUSTON, 1986).
Huston’s last film as a director is the remarkable screen adaptation by his son Tony of James Joyes’s famous short story. His daughter Angelica Huston also stars in the telling of the New Year’s celebrations in 1904 Dublin. The undeniable quality of the acting coupled with the fine understanding of the short story makes this a truly sublime transfer from book to film.

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4. GIVE UP YER AUL SINS (CATHAL GAFFNEY, 2002).
Nominated for an Oscar, this is an animated short film based on recordings taken in the 1960s of inner city poverty-stricken school children who are retelling biblical stories. The visual telling of these stories are beautifully executed with the help of sepia tones and the film is greatly enriched by the intelligent use of the quirkiness of the children’s humor.

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5. MICHAEL COLLINS (NEIL JORDAN, 1997).
The film directed by Ireland’s leading film director tells the story of the political struggle that took place between 1916 and 1923. Michael Collin’s story is unique in Irish history and makes for a great cinematic portrayal of both his life and the turbulent establishment of the Irish Free State. The film features a remarkable performance by Lim Neeson, Aidan Quinn and Julia Roberts.

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6. THE IRISH PUB (ALEX FEGAN, 2013).
The Irish Pub is a loving tribute to the great institution in Irish society, the pub and the publicans who run them. The characters portrayed in this film run their own pubs which often have been in their families for generations. The audience gains a great insight into the heart and soul of the Irish pub through the wit and wisdom of their owners.

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7. ONCE (JOHN CARNEY, 2007).
Shot for only €130,000 by writer / director and former ‘Frames’ band member John Carney this musical film became one of the biggest success stories of the Irish film industry. The film is set in Dublin city centre and works an unusual love story around the songs written and performed by Glen Hansard. It has been successfully adapted to Broadway and has catapulted Oscar winner (Academy Award for Best Original Song) Glen Hansard to worldwide stardom.

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8. THE SECRET OF KELLS (TOMM MOORE, 2009).
The story is set in the eighth century and gives a fictionalized account of the creation of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the bible which has since become an Irish national treasure. The animation and music are beautifully rendered and represent the artwork referred to in the manuscript.

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9. GOOD VIBRATIONS (GLENN PATTERSON & LISA BARROS D'SA, 2013).
CAPA students take a side trip to Belfast, so we're slipping one in from Northern Ireland. The film, set in Belfast, is a chronicle of Terri Hooley's life. Terri is a record-store owner instrumental in developing Belfast's punk-rock scene. This beautifully told story embraces the cities troubled past through music and pays tribute to Northern Ireland’s influential punk scene.

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10. WHAT RICHARD DID (LENNY ABRAHAMSON, 2012). Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, (‘Adam and Paul’ 2004, ‘Garage’2007) this film is loosely based on real events and tells the story of a privileged south Dublin teenage boy. Everything is perfect for Richard until one drunken summer night he destroys it all, by viciously assaulting a romantic rival. The films naturalistic tone leaves the audience with a deeper understanding of teenage lives and pressures in affluent contemporary Dublin.

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Topics: Dublin, Ireland