There is always a risk of being deported back to your country if you have committed a crime or have done something illegal. But back in the 1930s, in Ireland, you could have been sent out of the country just because of your desire to make people happier, bring a smile, and make them forget about their uneventful life. Film Jimmy’s Hall, directed by Ken Loach, is based on a true story of a man who leaves his second home country, United States, due to the Great Depression and goes back to Ireland, his homeland. After sometime, seeing poverty and desperation in the face of his people, Jim Gralton decides to open a dance hall where everyone can join him for free to enjoy their life through dance. But that does not last long, as a local priest starts a campaign against Jimmy and his Hall, which eventually creates an unprecedented situation where Jimmy Gralton becomes the only Irishman deported from Ireland.
When the movie begins, we find Jimmy warmly welcomed by his friends as he approaches his birthplace, Effrinagh. Shortly after, we find out that Jimmy leaves the U.S due to difficult times and wants to settle down in his town, and look after his old mother. In one of those days, Jimmy is stopped by a youngster who asks him to open his Dance Hall again, as they have no other joy in their lives except dancing. Seeing how desperate they are and the miserable life they are having, Jimmy eventually opens it. The happiness of his loved ones, friends, and the villagers does not last long as a local Catholic priest sees danger in innocent local dances and goes wild in order to close the place down.
Jimmy`s Hall is an important film about a person who sacrificed his freedom for his belief in order to make a difference. Despite the sentimental story, this film won’t leave you with tears. And that’s not because of poor writing or inability to develop the story in a way that will make anyone feel sorry. It seems Ken Loach wanted to leave all sentimentality behind the curtain and make the viewer concentrate on the story itself, which I must admit, was done beautifully. Even though the main character is Jimmy Gralton, however, in this film, everyone plays a major part as people who, more or less, define Gralton’s future.
Barry Ward’s Jimmy is caring, loving, and a warm-hearted person who would never hesitate to help people around him. Ward does his best showing Jimmy as not the kind of person who wanted people to feel sorry about him, but more like being proud of him, as the one who would go as far as possible to fight for his right to dance, to enjoy and live his life to the fullest.