Jimmy's Hall

Jimmy's Hall


Where anything goes and everyone belongs.

Ken Loach's true-story drama, set in 1932 Ireland, about political firebrand and communist Jimmy Gralton who - upon returning from 10 years abroad - opens a dance hall for the youth to share ideas. Based on the stageplay by Donal O'Kelly. Nominated for the Palme d'Or, Cannes 2014.... More

"In 1921, Jimmy Gralton's sin was to build a dance hall on a rural crossroads in Ireland, where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream... but above all to dance and have fun. Jimmy's Hall celebrates the spirit of these free-thinkers." (Cannes Film Festival)Hide

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Flicks Review

British director Ken Loach is known – and loved – for dramas of quiet outrage, such as Poor Cow, Kes and My Name Is Joe. Jimmy's Hall is rumoured to be his last, which would be a pity for two reasons. Firstly, the industry needs film-makers with a moral compass. Secondly, it's not strong enough to be his swansong.... More

“Inspired by the life and times of Jimmy Gralton” as one of many titlecards tells us, the film is set in County Leitrim, rural Ireland, in 1932, after the Irish Civil War and much internal upheaval. Jimmy (Barry Ward) returns home from America, and is persuaded by the local kids to rebuild the eponymous community hall. “We want to dance, Jimmy,” they tell him. But dancing's not high on the agenda of Father Sheridan (Jim Norton), and Jimmy's communist leanings come under fire from the authorities.

Though handsomely made, the film suffers from an overly diagrammatic script. The dialogue is no stranger to cliche (“I want a quiet life now,” says Jimmy, like nobody ever), and it's possible to guess what's coming next scene by scene. Meanwhile, the flashbacks to ten years previously show Ward and lost love Simone Kirby almost completely unchanged by time. “He's not the same man who went away,” offers one local but, bar a few grey hairs, he is.

Ireland's misty blue vistas make an appealing backdrop, and Norton and progressive cleric Andrew Scott share some compelling scenes – but these are TV actors (from Father Ted and Sherlock respectively), and you can't help feeling that's where Jimmy's Hall belongs.Hide

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The Press Reviews

70% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • All told, it's perhaps best seen as a celebration of a man who stands up for his beliefs - almost like a testament to Loach himself. Full Review

  • Ken Loach has taken a despicable episode of modern Irish history -- the 1933 deportation without trial of one of its own citizens, James Gralton -- and made a surprisingly lovely, heartfelt film from it. Full Review

  • An odd, only fitfully engaging hybrid of The Quiet Man and Footloose, which neither packs much of a punch nor is particularly nimble on its feet. Full Review

  • BBC

    A warm, romantic little period drama, with inspirational messages about working for "need not greed". But its rousing music is the only element that gets the heart beating faster. Full Review

  • A fascinating episode in Irish history, full of warm human moments but perhaps missing the vim and vigour of Loach’s best. Full Review

  • Something sparks thanks to Jim Norton's robust but nuanced performance as the cantankerous, obsessive hardliner Father Sheridan. Full Review

  • In a way this is Loach-lite; it's a decent, concerned film but perhaps a little too pat and a little too familiar, though it's beautifully made. Full Review