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  • True story of one Bernie McPhillimy, a determined lady who tries to negotiate an agreement between the IRA and the Brits in 1972, during the height of the fighting. She is tired of innocent children being killed and comes up with an idea of a 'daytime truce' so the children can safely get to school and back. From he modest petition drive she is thrust quickly into the limelight as a leader of the 'peace movement.' Although she is not pro-British, she is given the tag of 'anti-IRA' by the nieghbours and we see the wrath that label brings upon her and her family. Despite all the setbacks and threats, her dogged determination is inspiring and at times even fun to watch. This movie does a great job of putting you right in the thick of things in Belfast. Unlike other movies based on the troubles in Ireland which usually looks at it from an IRA standpoint, this one focuses on how the regular blokes are affected and what their daily lives are like. Not entirely uplifting nor a complete bummer, it treads keenly between an over the top drama and made for tv drama. Still, I like it.
  • I notice that a lot of comments such as 'Yawn, yawn. Another film about Northern Ireland' were written by people who don't actually live there. Well, I was born in Belfast in 1960 and lived there till 1982, and I can tell you that when you were yawning at the news about people being murdered, tortured, kidnapped, beaten, burned out of their homes, intimidated and imprisoned without trial, the people I lived among were going through it. I think this is an excellent film and very realistic. Julie Walters' accent is spot on, and the humour is, too. People who suffer greatly stay sane by developing a kind of gallows humour. If you think it is a trite film, you must have had an easy life. You've probably spent too much of your time watching movies. This is a luxury accorded to those who live in peace; be grateful you do.
  • "Titanic Town" is the real-life story of Bernie McPhelimy, a Belfast mother who was the driving force behind an anti-violence initiative of the 1970's. (The film draws its name from its city of location, where the "Titanic" was built at the Harland & Wolff shipyards.) Bernie is a witness to several military raids within both her neighborhood and her own home. The film shows how her feelings of indignancy are ignited and herself propelled--rather too quickly--into a spiral of Irish politics and intrigue. "Titanic Town" does an excellent job of demonstrating how one's own emotions, the news media and circumstantial events work to transform an ordinary individual into a national controversy. Performances by Julie Walters (as Bernie McPhelimy), newcomer Nuala O'Neill (as her daughter), and Ciaran McMenamin (as an IRA activist) are particularly well done. Strong supporting work is given by Ciaran Hinds, as Bernie's spent and sickly husband. Adeptly directed by Roger Michell ("Notting Hill"), "Titanic Town" may be somewhat dated from a topical standpoint, but its presentation of the Irish conflict in most human of terms makes it a more than worthy watch. It is a brave story, about a brave (if somewhat belligerent) people, which will elicit compassion, sympathy and respect from nearly any viewer.
  • m-pidge14 December 2005
    A distinctly average film. Yet again, filmmakers try to encapsulate life in NI in the Troubles. Every such film either portrays Protestants as ignorant oppressors or Catholics as ruthless terrorists. The fact is that bad things were committed on all sides. Yes, Catholics were oppressed. Yes, the British Army killed innocents. Yes, the IRA bombed pubs.

    The perspective of all sides is rarely taken into account. If you want to learn about the Troubles and the mindset behind them, I suggest three films. 1) In the Name of the Father (A Jim Sheridan film with Daniel Day Lewis) 2) Omagh (An Irish film with Gerard McSorley covering the Real IRA's killing of innocent people in Omagh) 3) Bloody Sunday (A film made by the same people as Omagh, detailing the killing of peaceful protesters by British paratroopers in the 1970s).

    For me (as a southern Irish person (ie someone with enough distance to be dispassionate about the Troubles and close enough to understand)), these are by far the best films on the topic.
  • rmax30482323 September 2002
    Reminds me of a Ciardi poem, "My tribe is honing knives to use against your tribe." Lord, what hatred. The Catholics and the Proddies hate one another and everybody hates Bernie, the frustrated woman who forms a peace group to mediate between the IRA and the Brits in West Belfast. I don't know how, exactly, but I suppose from documentaries and "Odd Man Out," I'd gotten a picture of strife-torn Belfast as a heap of burned out urban wrack. Andersontown, where Bernie lives with her husband and three or four kids, looks more like one of those unpretentious working-class brick housing developments with wide streets and neat green lawns that one might see on the outskirts of Allentown, Pennsylvania. But there is violence in these clean streets too. A shot rings out, a soldier falls, and residents run from their houses to help the young man who lies on the wet sunlit street with an IRA bullet in his side. An ambulance speeds him away and a few minutes later there is a raid by the army. Several of the local old men are "lifted" and taken away in APCs. Bernie is incensed. The streets are not even safe for children during the daytime! And when her former bridesmaid, Mary McCoy, has her brains accidentally blown out by another IRA bullet, she recruits a friend and they begin to lobby, first in churches and town meetings, then on TV, for a cease fire. What kind of cease fire? Mutual fund managers have two styles of investing in stocks. One is "top down," in which the manager takes into account macroeconomic variables -- the interest rate, the direction the market is likely to go, the likelihood of improvement in different sectors -- and making bets along those lines. The other style is called "bottom up" investing. The hell with the overall market themes and the Bollinger bands. The "bottom up" investor looks for individual companies with favorable cash flows, good management, and quality products, regardless of the overall condition of the market. As a peace lobbyist, Bernie is a bottom up investor. She wants a cease fire for the sake of the kids -- period. She couldn't care less about larger issues like home rule. The well-meaning Protestant women running the town hall meeting are top-downers and begin by saying things like, "We must all find a common ground between us," and, "We must get to know one another so we can work more effectively together." Bernie doesn't want to find common ground. She is the complete pragmatist. She wants the shooting to stop. Her efforts earn her the enmity of the IRA, who consider her a traitor for "letting down the Catholics in front of everybody." And then the hatred of her neighbors, who throw bricks through her window, bop her retarded son on the head, and perforate her husband's ulcer. Bernie is angry and determined, but she's scared too. Anybody would be scared. At one point a man pins her against a brick wall at night, puts a pistol to her head and drops the hammer on an empty chamber while warning her to back off. Everybody wants peace on his or her own terms. But Bernie just wants peace. After meeting with the IRA in a scene that is almost comic, she meets with the high-ranking Brits, and there is an agreement that everyone will agree to a cease fire. The movie ends on an ambiguous note.

    The last half of the movie loses its direction. Let me see. Bernie's schoolgirl daughter falls in love with a medical student. Somehow the student is lifted by the Brits because of Bernie's activities. Bernie's daughter blames Bernie for everything and tries to take an overdose of Valium. The two of them fight. They come together weeping, over the hospitalized retarded son who's gotten beaned. It doesn't have enough to do with the central issue, and brushes uneasily against soap opera.

    Overall, though, it's quite well done. Julie Walters ("Educating Rita") looks as stalwart as she acts, and does a good job conveying her panic while waiting to be interrogated by the IRA leaders. She and her colleague keep breathlessly repeating Hail Marys. The IRA men turn out to be just ordinary guys from the neighborhood, one of them a former partner of Bernie's in an Irish dancing contest. Walters' is the only familiar face. None of the faces is glamorized in any way. Bernie's daughter is by no means attractive, but she has a cherubic face and a truly sweet dimpled smile. A fat neighbor with her hair in curlers, a vociferous IRA supporter, shouts obscenities at anyone not wholly behind her, playing it mostly for laughs.

    When Bernie's family, having been kicked out, are trying to load their gear onto the truck, Fat IRA Lady's young son says, well, maybe he ought to go over and help them with the furniture. "What?" she screams at him. "You dumb f****** moron b****** -- and get KNEEcapped?" She whacks him across the head and shoos him into the house and, with a glance over her shoulder, adds, "Wait till after dark."

    It would be interesting to know where these tribal impulses stem from. We are confronted, after all, with similar situations all over the world -- not just Northern Ireland, but Palestine, Iraq, and the cities of the United States. Why are we honing those knives? And why do so many of the rest of us hate people like Bernie? This movie illustrates the passions but doesn't suggest any answers, nor even suggest that there are any answers. And, of course, if there aren't, and there may not in fact be, then any exploration of human nature is going to give us a glimpse into the heart of a darkness that no one wants acknowledged. The argument takes this form. "I do what I do because I am forced to by circumstances beyond my control. My enemy does what he does because that's his nature." It's psychological manifestation is called "the fundamental error of attribution." Big concepts, tricky codes, but real enough that they may lead some day to our dissolution as a species unless we come to grips with them.
  • I saw this at the 1998 Montreal Film Festival and found it a moving and challenging film on the complexities of personal and political response to a longstanding and divisive issue. Well acted and cinematographed, this film added a dimension that has been rarely touched upon in other depictions of the "troubles in Northern Ireland." It compliments "Every Mother's Son" and "In the Name of the Father" with a moving story of the long-lasting and indiscriminate effects of violence and an attempt to question its limits as a political strategy. This is not a simplistic film, and its power comes from the depth of its critique of all the players in this ongoing political struggle.
  • Very good film about Northern Ireland and the early troubles. Excellent acting by Nuala O'Neill and especially Julie Walter who not only carried the accent well but acted superbly also. Thankfully unlike so many other films based on the troubles in NI this one shows a realistic view of events. Highly recommended.
  • Theo Robertson15 December 2005
    Oh dear not yet another black comedy featuring the troubles in Northern Ireland . Haven't we seen enough of these type of stories on television ? Do we also have to endure them turning up at film festivals and cinema chains ?

    Sorry if I've got a serious problem with this type of story but it's a medium best suited for television written by someone of the calibre of Graham Reid ( Check out the author's BILLY trilogy from the 1980s ) and the problem with TITANIC TOWN is that the script is far too obvious . A mother in a republican estate of Belfast in the 1970s decides she's had enough of the violence and stands up for the peaceful majority . It's the type of story that's supposed to have the audience angry one moment , weeping the next and smiling a moment later . Unfortunately what we get is cyphers giving speeches followed by silly things then back to the speeches again . It's always the innocent who suffer from political violence , thanks for pointing that out because I didn't know . YAWN
  • "Titanic Town" is a journeyman drama with a low budget feel which revisits Belfast, NI (circa 1970's) when the IRA and Brits waged war in the streets. The film tells of a housewife and mother who gets fed up with the violence and takes the initiative waging her own war of peace through mediation. Open ended and relatively uneventful, this film has little to offer save the curious and sometimes humorous juxtaposition of a "mom" amongst considerably more sagacious combatants. Not a bad small screen watch for moms but pretty trite stuff by cinematic standards.
  • kathryn869111 September 2000
    This movie was very hard to follow. The Irish brougues (sp?) did not help; maybe it was the fact that I know nothing of the Northern Irish Conflict, other than it's between the Catholics and Protestants. Being of Eastern European descent, I have no knowledge of it. Last few months, I thought I'd widen my horizons and see an occasional independent/fine arts/foreign film, but every movie I've seen I did not care for. Will try again with The Yards and eventually Mansfield Park, when it comes to video, but if I don't care for those I'll stick with the Hollywood-released films.