Starring: Richard Dormer, Jodie Whittaker, Liam Cunningham
Director: Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn
Running Time: 103 mins
Good Vibrations is an British/Irish film about Terri Hooley, a non-religious affiliated music enthusiast who decides to bring a corner of piece to Belfast by opening a record shop in the centre of the Troubles, a decision that will lead him to encounter the severity of both the music industry and the bitter religious battle dividing his home city.
This isn’t just a great comedy-drama, but an absolutely fascinating biopic on two separate counts. Not only does it paint an engrossing and passionate picture of the state of Belfast at the height of the Troubles, but it brings to light a fascinating tale of a period in the music industry that has moved into legend nowadays, making for a thoroughly riveting watch from start to finish.
However, before we get into the nitty-gritty of the history, let’s talk about the lighter side of this movie, and the fact that it’s actually a very good comedy. Although it’s not intended to be a laughter fest from start to finish, the hugely energetic performance from Richard Dormer, as well as a consistently brilliant sense of humour that manages to bring so much wit and joy to an occasionally very dark story.
What’s more is that the film perfectly balances itself between focusing on the music side of things and the history of Belfast. On the one hand, the music side of the story isn’t just fascinating, but it’s a brilliantly-directed and fast-moving plot that makes for hugely entertaining watching.
Not only do you get to see how legendary bands got their start back in Belfast in the 70s, but you get a fantastically rapid-fire and passionate punk rock atmosphere accompanied by a soundtrack filled to the brim with classic hits, something that any music lover will adore, but anyone else will also have great fun with.
On the other hand, the film focuses a lot on the political situation of Belfast at the time, more specifically the height of the Troubles fought between Catholics and Protestants. Brilliantly, it centres on a character who doesn’t take either side, so there’s no real political bias towards either side, and instead the historical focus is about looking back on the Troubles in a sombre and respectful way, all the while bringing a corner of joy to the darkness with Terri Hooley’s newly established record shop that aims to bring the heart of Belfast back once more.
Overall, I really liked Good Vibrations. It’s a fascinating story from both a music lover’s and history lover’s point of view, and with passionate directing throughout that makes it a convincing and hugely entertaining tale, all the while featuring a fantastic central performance, there’s a lot to love about this film, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.