Film review: It’s religion vs. dancing in “Jimmy’s Hall”

Jimmy’s HallVeteran English filmmaker Ken Loach has said that Jimmy’s Hall will likely be his final feature film, and if so, he’s going out on a fairly pedestrian note. That’s not to say Jimmy’s Hall doesn’t have its strengths, but its story, based on the real-life experiences of Irish activist Jimmy Gralton, is a bit predictable and heavy-handed.

Jimmy (Barry Ward) returns to his small Irish hometown in the early 1930s after living in exile in the U.S., and immediately reopens the community center that caused him so much trouble a decade earlier. The authoritarian local Catholic priest (Jim Norton) doesn’t approve of Jimmy providing a place for locals to dance (to sinful jazz music!), study art and discuss poetry, and he sets about trying to shut Jimmy down.

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