Celebrate Irish Catholic heritage in October by streaming one of these 5 movies.
St. Patrick’s Day is almost half a year away, but there are lots of Irish saints coming up this month to celebrate: Blessed Columba Marmion on October 3, St. Fiace on October 11, St. Colman of Kilmacduagh on October 29, and St. Odran of Iona on October 27th.
If you have never heard of these souls before, pick one and learn more! And while you’re at it, why not celebrate the life of one of these men of God with an Irish movie night? (I am not aware of any female Irish saints whose day is in October, but if you haven’t heard of Venerable Edel Quinn, give her a quick search. If she’s beautified, maybe her feast will be this month someday!)
Regardless of whose feast you choose to remember, get out your green dishes, serve up some mashed potatoes and cabbage, and try watching one of the following …
The Secret of Roan Inish
If you’re in the mood for a gentle and whimsical family-friendly flick, try The Secret of Roan Inish. With a lovely soundtrack and beautiful cinematography, this is a joyful watch. The young actress Jeni Courtney, who plays the film’s protagonist, Fiona, does a wonderful job. The story moves slowly, especially at the beginning, but give it a chance.
If you want a family-focused drama, try Cinderella Man. What if you were a boxer during the depression, and you were slipping? You just weren’t winning anymore–you were getting older, and your chosen career wasn’t going to support you much longer? This exciting and heartfelt comeback story is based on real life events. Russell Crowe, Renee Zellwegger, and Paul Giamatti take center stage, and do a fantastic job. The movie portrays both the Catholic faith of the couple and their marriage respectfully, and shows the importance of both in their life.
The Quiet Man
If you’re in the mood for an old romantic comedy, try The Quiet Man. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara play the unlikely pair who fall in love and get married. Their chemistry is fun to see, and the beauty of nature in Ireland is well-captured. The only downside to this otherwise charming movie is the roughness with which John Wayne treats Maureen O’Hara at a couple of points, so just be forewarned.
If you’re in the market for a feel good sports movie, try Rudy. Rudy really wants to play football after high school. The movie is based on a real person’s life, and follows Rudy to Notre Dame, with everything you want in a good underdog story and more.
If you would like to watch a heavy, thought-provoking drama with a thread of dark comedy, try Calvary. It follows an Irish priest for a pivotal week in his life, beginning with an intense scene in a confessional. Father James, played by Brendan Gleeson, is a good man and a good priest, who tackles head-on the brokenness and beauty in the people he serves. The story shows the battle to hold onto faith and to learn to forgive. Take a look at some interesting commentary on how Calvary portrays the sacramental life of the church. Invite a friend over, as it’s a good one to discuss together after watching.
There you have it. Five movies that celebrate the beauty of Ireland and her people without denigrating the profound faith that has been kept alive through the ages, all thanks initially to the missionary St. Patrick. Enjoy!