Song of the Day #5,353: ‘Christ Went Up Into the Hills Alone’ – John McCormack

Continuing the countdown of my favorite 2022 movies…

Best Films of 2022
#8 – The Banshees of Inisherin

I don’t remember the exact circumstances of most of my moviegoing experiences. I mean, nine times out of ten I know I saw the movie at my local Cinemark, but beyond that the particulars of each visit blend together.

That decidedly isn’t the case for The Banshees of Inisherin. I saw this movie on a cold, damp day in Norwich, England, with my older daughter at my side. She had recently been discharged after ten days in a university hospital and we were spending a week at an Airbnb before flying back home to the states.

At times, sitting by her hospital bedside, I felt like she would never leave that room. It’s not that her condition was dire — after an early scare she was on a slow but steady road to a full recovery — but a function of the way time slows down in that setting. Every minute in a hospital feels like an hour, every day feels like a week.

But then, just like that, we were free. Eating Nando’s and watching my first-ever movie on European soil.

Banshees was the perfect choice for that setting. Norwich isn’t Inisherin, but it’s a lot closer than South Florida. The sad, foggy dampness outside followed us right into the theater, where we watched a story of two lonely men struggling to find meaning in very different ways.

This is an Irish folk tale, set against the backdrop of the country’s 1923 civil war, in which Colin Ferrell’s Pádraic Súilleabháin and Brendan Gleeson’s Colm Doherty are two friends caught up in their own inexplicable battle.

Colm, a musician facing his own mortality, declares he no longer has time for frivolous friendships and decides to shun Pádraic to make more time for his art. Pádraic, whose life revolves around his relationships with people and animals, can’t accept that choice without a fight.

Rounding out the strong ensemble are Barry Keoghan as another friend of Pádraic’s and Kerry Condon as Pádraic’s sister. Each of those relationships changes in ways that leave Pádraic increasingly isolated. But at least he has his donkey, Jenny, to keep him company.

Banshees is often hilarious but goes to some very dark places. That’s true of all of writer/director Martin McDonagh’s movies, especially his 2008 debut In Bruges, where Ferrell and Gleeson first teamed up. The duo has delightful chemistry on and off the screen.

The film is an allegory about a civil war in which there are no winners, but it also works nicely as a meditation on mortality, legacy, self-destructive behavior, and the value of simple decency.

I recommend seeing it on a wet, chilly day sitting next to somebody you love.

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,353: ‘Christ Went Up Into the Hills Alone’ – John McCormack

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    While our viewing experience was decidedly less impactful, special or memorable, the film itself was all of these things.

  2. Amy says:

    What a lovely memory, though I’m not sure this is the film (on paper, at least) Id opt for to celebrate my hospital release! 😜

    Your analysis is succinct and edifying and makes me appreciate the film even more for all its layers. And I’m impressed you took the time to get Colin’s character’s full name out there!

  3. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful memory. This does feel like the perfect film with its dark humor and patient tone to provide a refuge from whatever you’re dealing with outside. Hell, the score and scenery alone will transport you! I watched this film after my sister raved about it to me for a whole week when I stayed with her in LA. Well, really she raved about Colin Farrell’s Hot Ones interview but after delightfully watching that on the runway before our flight took off to back home, I was excited to meet the banshees. I share many of your feelings as I absolutely adored this film and would love to see it take home “Best Picture” if it doesn’t go to “Everything Everywhere All at Once” or “TÁR”

  4. Peg says:

    Love your memories and your review ❤️ I was reluctant to see this film due to having read some rather shocking spoilers. However I’m so happy to have seen it and would be even happier if the actors or the film received Oscars

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