- 1 hr 42 min
Cal is a 1984 film directed by Pat O'Connor, based on the novel Cal by Bernard MacLaverty. The film follows the story of Cal, played by John Lynch, a young man living in Northern Ireland, who is haunted by his involvement in the IRA's violent activities. The film takes place in the early 1980s during the time when the Troubles were at its height in Northern Ireland. Cal, a 19-year-old Catholic, lives in a small village with his widowed father Shamie, played by Donal McCann. His father is a former soldier who now works at a slaughterhouse. Cal works there too, and he's also involved with the local IRA cell.
The story starts when Cal meets Marcella, played by Helen Mirren, a middle-aged widow and Protestant. Despite their differences in religion, the two fall in love, and their relationship grows gradually. Marcella's son Crilly, played by John Kavanagh, is a member of a Protestant paramilitary group who starts to suspect that Cal is involved in the murder of one of their members.
The film explores themes of love, guilt, and the struggle to overcome a violent past. Cal is haunted by the murder he committed when he was a part of the IRA, and he struggles to come to terms with his actions. His relationship with Marcella is complicated by their religious and political differences, and Cal becomes increasingly isolated from his community as tensions between the Catholics and Protestants escalate.
Helen Mirren delivers a riveting performance as Marcella, a woman torn between her loyalty to her deceased husband and her growing love for Cal. John Lynch's portrayal of Cal is equally impressive, as he portrays the character's inner turmoil with great sensitivity.
The film was shot in Belfast, which lends authenticity to the depiction of the Troubles, and the cinematography by Jerzy Zielinski is stunning, capturing both the beauty and the bleakness of the Irish landscape.
Cal received critical acclaim when it was released, with particular praise going to the performances of Lynch and Mirren. It won the Grand Prix du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984, and was also nominated for the Palme d'Or.
Overall, Cal is a powerful and moving film that explores the complexities of love and forgiveness in the midst of violence and conflict. The performances, cinematography, and direction are all first-rate, making it an essential watch for anyone interested in Irish cinema or political filmmaking.
Cal is a 1984 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 42 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.