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(2000) (Julie Walters, Nuala O'Neill) (Not Rated)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Moderate Extreme Moderate Heavy
Moderate None None None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Mild Mild Heavy Moderate Extreme

Drama: A mother takes on the IRA, the British government and the varied reactions of her neighbors as she hopes to put an end to the violence in her 1970s era Belfast neighborhood.
It's 1972 and Bernie McPhelimy (JULIE WALTERS) has moved into a Belfast neighborhood with her sickly husband, Aidan (CIARÁN HINDS) and their four children -- Annie (NUALA O'NEILL), Thomas (JAMES LOUGHRAN), Brendan (BARRY LOUGHRAN) and young Sinead (ELIZABETH DONAGHY). Although they receive a warm welcome from friends and family, Bernie soon realizes they've moved into the neighborhood battleground between the IRA and the British military forces that are present in an attempt to control Ireland.

Despite the inherent dangers, most everyone tries to get on with their lives and avoid the sporadic violence and British military raids on their homes. That is, except for Bernie who has no qualms confronting and publicly reprimanding the soldiers and guerilla gunmen. When a random bullet strikes down her best friend, she becomes more vocal and even ends up on TV demanding peace.

Her comments stir up a maelstrom of criticism and threats from the IRA, the British soldiers and even her neighbors, and create problems for her family, including Annie who finds her budding romance with Owen (CIARÁN MCMENAMIN), a premed student, suddenly endangered. Despite the mounting repercussions and threats, Bernie, with the help of a fellow concerned woman (AINGEAL GREHAN), continues on her quest to bring peace to her neighborhood, eventually leading to meetings with high ranking officials on both sides of the volatile conflict.

Unless they're fooled by the title or are fans of someone in the cast or of small, independent films, it's not very likely.
The film was not submitted to the MPAA for rating, but it's the equivalent of an R due to profanity and violence.
  • JULIE WALTERS plays a middle-aged Catholic housewife who just wants a safe place for her family to live. As such, she takes on both the homegrown IRA and the British military, showing steadfast determination and some foolhardiness. She also uses some strong profanity.
  • CIARAN HINDS plays her chronically ill husband who questions her behavior due to the repercussions it generates. He briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • NUALA O'NEILL plays their oldest daughter who finds her life and potential romance coming apart due to others' reactions to her mother's actions. As such, she becomes quite put out with her mother and even appears to attempt suicide in one scene (via an overdose of Valium).
  • JAMES LOUGHRAN, BARRY LOUGHRAN and ELIZABETH DONAGHY play her siblings who are also affected by their mother's actions.
  • CIARAN MCMENAMIN plays an alleged pre-med student who turns out to be a member of the IRA who smokes, cusses some and briefly romances Annie.
  • AINGEAL GREHAN plays a woman who accompanies Bernie to her various meetings.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this un-rated drama that's otherwise the equivalent of an R-rated film. Violence consists of a person being shot and killed, others being wounded (shot in the side, hit on the head, etc.) with some bloody results, and some property is destroyed.

    Those responsible obviously have bad attitudes, such scenes may be tense or unsettling to some viewers, and the conflict between the IRA and the British military is clearly a good topic for discussion. The same holds true for the family tension (including an apparent attempted suicide) generated by others' reactions to a mother's actions to bring peace to her neighborhood.

    Profanity is rated as extreme due to at least 20 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is also present (and a young couple briefly makes out), while various characters smoke, some drink and one seemingly becomes hooked on Valium.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for anyone in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for specific examples of what occurs in the film.

  • Annie and Owen drink shots.
  • Later, they have beer with some of his friends and one of them asks her if she wants another. Owen says that she doesn't, but she replies that she does and that she's only had two so far.
  • Bernie appears to get hooked on Valium (we see her taking it -sometimes several pills - in different scenes).
  • Some young people at the beach drink, including Owen who drinks wine from the bottle.
  • British officials offer Bernie and her friend some drinks, but they decline since they're teetotalers.
  • Annie states that she took an overdose of her mother's Valium (but she vomits them back up).
  • We briefly see some blood on the street from a soldier who was shot.
  • Owen has a lone bloody scratch on his forehead.
  • Aidan's mouth is bloody (apparently from his stomach ulcer problems).
  • We see Annie vomit (and see the Valium pills she took in an apparent suicide attempt hit the street along with other stomach contents/fluid).
  • A boy's head is very bloody after someone hits him. We later see some blood on Annie's shirt, apparently from tending to him.
  • Depending on your views, either or both the IRA and the British government have both for their actions.
  • Some neighborhood women disrupt a women's peace group meeting because some of their leaders are Protestants.
  • Various people react negatively toward Bernie and members of her family regarding her stances and comments on the whole IRA/British military issue (one attacks the son, the girls in the daughter's Catholic school turn on her, someone throws a brick through the family window at night, someone threatens to kill Bernie, etc.).
  • Owen stands up Annie, but this is because he realized he'd be nabbed as a member of the IRA.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Rifles/Handguns: Carried by various people and used to threaten, wound and kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Explosives: Seen/heard exploding in the neighborhood.
  • Due to the strong Irish accents and an echoing theater, some of what's said couldn't be understood completely. That said, we did note the following phrases: "F*ck off," "F*ck me," "For f*ck's sakes," "You f*cking stupid bastard moron," "Who gives a sh*t?" "What the hell do you think you're doing?" "Shut up," "Bugger," "Bloody," "Bollocks," "Bitch," "Screwed up" and "Bastard."
  • Someone throws a brick through the family's window as a threatening message.
  • Annie states that she took an overdose of her mother's Valium (but she vomits them back up).
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Due to the strong Irish accents and an echoing theater, some of what's said couldn't be understood completely. That said, there are at least 20 "f" words, 2 "s" words, 4 asses, 2 hells, 1 bugger, 1 bollocks and 9 uses of "Jesus," 2 each of "For Christ's sakes," "Lord," "Oh Christ" and "Holy God," and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "God," "Jesus Christ," "My God," "Oh God," "Holy Jesus" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • Some young women/teens briefly talk about whether Protestants have more sex than Catholics and one then comments that as far as that is concerned, they're all Catholics (or something along those lines). They then talk about some boy giving one of them a dirty look and that it's "sexy."
  • Owen tells Annie that he wishes he could go to a room with her and "lie down with you." Nothing happens, however, as she says she has to go.
  • Aidan complains to Bernie that she never wants to come to bed with him and she replies that's because he always seems so ill.
  • Annie and Owen make out in his room, but they're interrupted by a knock at the door.
  • Owen smokes several times, as does another man (Tony). Annie also smokes, as do various miscellaneous characters (some of whom also smoke pipes).
  • Bernie's actions - and their friends, neighbors and enemies' reactions - put a strain on her relationship with the rest of her family (at one point Annie tells Bernie that she hates her and has apparently attempted to commit suicide via a drug overdose because of all of that).
  • The family worries about Aidan's sickliness that occasionally puts him in the hospital.
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic license taken with the true story.
  • The longstanding conflict between the IRA and the British military.
  • How everyone reacted to Bernie's actions and words, including her own family (such as Annie apparently attempting suicide via a Valium overdose).
  • An IRA member fires at a helicopter (we only see the firing). After Bernie confronts him (he's on their front lawn), he briefly aims the gun at her.
  • We hear some gunfire and then see that a young British soldier has been shot in the side.
  • An armored military vehicle smashes through debris on a street.
  • We hear more gunfire and an explosion. We then hear that someone was shot in the face with a rubber bullet (we see a broken window in their house).
  • We hear a gunshot and immediately see a woman walking along a plaza fall dead to the ground.
  • Various locals attack a passing double-decker bus and smash its windows with pipes, rocks, etc. As a result, Owen has a lone bloody scratch on his forehead (he was on the bus) and we then later see the bus that's now on fire.
  • A group of women throw things at another group of women at a peace group meeting.
  • While playing what looks like some form of lacrosse, another player hits Bernie's son on the head with a stick (as a message for Bernie to back off).
  • Someone throws a brick through the family's window.
  • A man grabs Bernie at night and holds a gun to her head, threatening to kill her and string up her body in front of her home (he even pulls the trigger of the empty gun before running off).
  • Locals throw rocks at an armored vehicle.
  • Aidan and Thomas restrain Bernie to prevent her from attacking a protesting mob outside their home. Someone then hits one of the sons on the head with something that knocks him down and leaves a bloody wound on his head (we later see him with a bandage on his head).
  • A neighbor woman hits her adult son on the head for something he said.
  • We see an explosion off in the distance.

  • Reviewed August 22, 2000 / Posted September 1, 2000

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