A War of Children (1972)

Jenny Agutter in A War of Children (1972)

A Cross the Divide

Belfast, 1972 a pace of division between the Protestant and Catholics as the streets are heavily watched over by the military, barbwire barricades block roads and taking a bus can often lead to being shot at. But despite this divide the Tomelty and McCullum families have remained friends, frequently heading to the local hill for a Sunday picnic together. But as the troubles increase it increases the strain on their friendship and even more so when Maureen Tomelty (Jenny Agutter) starts to date Reg Hogg (Anthony Andrews) a British Soldier.

Have you ever stumbled across an old, forgotten movie which when you go looking for information find it is rated as high as some recognized classics and it makes you wonder why. It is how I came to watch "A War of Children" which is as old as I am and is a made for TV movie which going by the ratings on another popular movie site is up there with the likes of "Citizen Kane". Now in fairness watching "A War of Children" now is to watch it out of context but even then it is hard to believe that this drama about the conflict in Ireland can be rated so highly as it has many issues.

Now the thing is that the main storyline is in itself not an issue as this look at the conflict between a Protestant and Catholic family is interesting as we see it becoming more strained as the conflict increases. And the whole idea that Maureen falls for a British soldier and in doing so causing even more strain is a good one. These two elements combined could have made for a great even powerful drama.

But here is the thing, we have dodgy accents with few sounding right, we have ropey acting with characters struggling to remember their words or playing it seriously over the top and scenes which are meant to show Belfast yet clearly are shot in Dublin. Basically "A War of Children" despite having a good idea ends up spoiled by a lack of believability and authenticity. It is a shame but unfortunately at times "A War of Children" feels more like a movie made by those whose experience of Ireland had come from the stage and screen and so we have cliches and stereotypes.

What this all boils down to is that "A War of Children" is a movie which had a good idea but the final product despite having a reasonable storyline is let down by a lack of authenticity which makes it often feel incredibly false.