In the Name of the Father
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Starring: Emma Thompson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite
When Daniel Day-Lewis and director Jim Sheridan teamed up for this film they had already found success together in My Left Foot and The Boxer. This time around the success continued with a film that would earn seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. In the Name of the Father would lose out to Schindler’s List but win with critics who lavished it with praise. Daniel Day-Lewis would also earn a nomination for Best Actor while co-stars Emma Thompson and Pete Postlethwaite would also be nominated for their supporting roles.
This film is the real-life story of Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis), one of the Guildford Four, who was arrested in 1974 and forced to confess to a fatal London bombing he didn’t commit. Afterwards Gerry’s father Giuseppe Conlon (Postlethwaite) was also arrested along with seven other family members who were accused of aiding this bombing. Two trials sent the Guilford four and seven members of the Macguire Seven to prison for lengthy terms. For 15 years the Conlon family fought to clear their names with attorney Gareth Peirce (Thompson). The would gain the support of the public through their campaign for the truth. This quest for justice would ultimately take them back to court to fight for their freedom.
This is an amazing film. Daniel Day-Lewis brings an excellence to the screen unlike any other. His portrayal of Gerry Conlon is heartbreaking at times. Pete Postlethwaite is equally amazing as Gerry’s father. Emma Thompsonholds up her end of the film as the young activist lawyer. The additional actors all worked well within this movie too.
Having Gerry Conlon’s help with the writing on this film made the story feel far more personal. The filmmakers were able to rely on the man behind the story for information as well as feelings. This is another example of a film bringing a real-life story to the public.
The 1994 film year was amazing. This film lost in the Oscars to some of the best films of the 90’s. These films included Philadelphia, Schindler’s List, The Piano, and The Age of Innocence. Despite these loses this is a film that stands the test of time.
This is a gritty film with tough language and scenes of violence within the walls of the prisons. The emotions run high and the film works around the drama and sense of loss Gerry is feeling. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this film for anyone who likes courtroom drama or anything intensely emotional.
Running Time: 133 minutes