American moviegoers haven't seen much of Julie Walters since her splashy film debut in 1983's EDUCATING RITA promised to make her Britain's leading comic export (few here caught her remarkable performance in the 1997 black comedy INTIMATE RELATIONS).
Luckily for us, the talented Walters has returned in a role perfectly suited to her talents: The indomitable heroine of Titanic Town, Mary Costello's fictionalized account of her mother's real-life struggle to end guerrilla warfare between the British army and the Irish Republican Army in
her Belfast neighborhood. The film opens in 1972, with the McPhelimy family's arrival in Andersonstown, West Belfast, a deeply Catholic district where violence between British troops and the IRA has reached absurd extremes. Snipers and soldiers exchange shots in broad daylight, tanks roll across
the front lawns of drab estate houses, families are routinely rousted and their homes searched. When a good friend is accidentally killed by an IRA gunman, Catholic Bernie McPhelimy (Walters) decides that enough is enough: She attends a meeting of the Protestant South Belfast Women for Peace
movement, and expresses her disgust with both sides. Suddenly tarred with an anti-IRA/pro-Protestant brush, Bernie throws down the gauntlet when IRA sympathizers threaten her home, demanding a meeting with the Irish Republican Army. For all the story's grim realities, director Roger Michell and
screenwriter Anne Devlin make sure Costello's remarkable story remains as much a domestic drama a comedy, even as a political one. A major subplot involving Bernie's teenage daughter (Nuala O'Neill) and her first love neatly reflects the effect her mother's courageous, often naive,
crusade has on the rest of the family. Holding nothing back, Walters is, once again, remarkable: She captures the courage of a mother whose suburban neighborhood has become a battlefield, the front line of which is on her doorstep.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: NR
- Review: American moviegoers haven't seen much of Julie Walters since her splashy film debut in 1983's EDUCATING RITA promised to make her Britain's leading comic export (few here caught her remarkable performance in the 1997 black comedy INTIMATE RELATIONS). Luck… (more)