Barry Ward and Simone Kirby star  Jimmy's Hall.

Barry Ward and Simone Kirby star Jimmy's Hall.

Irish film reflects on dance hall days

Vernon Film Society continues its fall season with Jimmy’s Hall, which recounts the true story of activist Jimmy Gralton.

The Vernon Film Society continues its fall season with Jimmy’s Hall, the new film from revered British director Ken Loach (The Angels’ Share), which recounts the true story of activist Jimmy Gralton.

Upon returning to his Irish hometown of Effrinagh from the U.S. in the early 1930s to care for his ailing mother, Jimmy (Barry Ward) reopens a community dance hall that he had founded before the war.

Jimmy’s hall quickly becomes popular with local youth as a place to gather, dance to jazz, and host community events and debates. But, fearful that the hall is serving as a breeding ground for permissiveness, Americanization, and political radicalism, the local church attempts to shut it down.

This action only serves to stoke the fires of discontent among the local populace, bringing the church leadership into conflict with both the working class and changing mores.

As Jimmy becomes an ever greater thorn in the side of conservative authority, the forces of repression are driven to an extreme, unprecedented – and shameful – measure to quash this burgeoning movement of grassroots progressivism.

Anchored by strong, naturalistic performances and buoyed by the exciting music of the time, the rousing Jimmy’s Hall proudly carries on the tradition of committed political and social filmmaking for which Loach is rightfully renowned.

“Lovely [and] heartfelt … infused with a gentle romanticism that buoys the film without cheapening the gravity of its subject.,” said Variety’s Scott Foundas.

Jimmy’s Hall screens at the Towne Cinema Monday, Nov. 16 at the regular times of 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available one week in advance at the Towne and the Bean Scene for $7 (cash only).