The Mighty Celt - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Mighty Celt Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 31, 2012
A delightful, yet powerful story. Touching. Heartbreaking. Well done...really could use some subtitles, though.
Theta Sigma
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2011
Tyone McKenna portrays Donal, a Belfast teenager who lives with his single mother, Kate (Gillian Anderson) and has an after school job working for local greyhound trainer, Good Joe (Ken Stott).

When Donal sees Joe preparing to kill one of the greyhounds becuase he thinks the dog will only win the races it wants to win, Donal offers to train the dog. A bond between boy and dog ensues and after naming him The Mighty Celt after a character in Irish mythology, Donal strikes a deal with Joe... he can have the dog as long as it wins three races, otherwise it belongs to Joe to do with as he wishes.

Alongside this, a figure from the town's past reappears in the form of O (Robert Carlyle) and enters Donal's and Kate's lives.

When Joe becomes jealous of Donal's relationship with O, he goes back on his arrangement which leads to tensions exploding between Donal, O and Joe.


I found out about this film when I visited Belfast roughly 18 months ago. I went on a guided pub walk and visited one of the locations used in the film (where O and Kate go out for a drink). Once I found this out, I had to get the film and although it is a quiet drama which doesn't set out to change the world, it is a good drama.

Gillian Anderson delivers another good performance as Kate and her scenes with Tyrone McKenna are believable of those of a mother and her son. Her scenes with Carlyle are also effective as he tries to break down the barriers of woman whose previous relationship has broken down and whose brother was killed in a paramilitary operation involving O.

Robert Carlyle is solid as usual in the role of O. He underplays the character and you do see a man who has become sickened by the violence of the "Troubles" after years on the run, of a man who has basically lost touch with a world that's moved on and a man who is now at peace with himself.

Ken Stott is cast as an effective antagonist in the role of Good Joe and it's apparent from the first frames of the film that Joe is anything but good and Stott is powerful in the handling of his final scenes in the film.

But it's Tyrone McKenna who is the star of the film as Donal. He effectively builds an on screen rapport with all three leads and with "The Celt".

As I said it's a quiet drama but a solid drama which asks a very pertinent question for today's society towards the film's conclusion, who is the braver man - the one who embraces violence or the one who walks away.
August 10, 2008
Uttelrly SUPERB! There is a rare brutal honesty in this movie. The whole cast is amazing. Gillian Anderson never ceases to amaze me. She is a gem! The scenes between her & Robert Carlyle are so sincere. I was genuinely cheering these characters on. And Tyrone McKenna (in his film debut) was charming as Anderson's son. He was the heart of the film. Life is not a ballet. It's more grit & shit than sunshine and flowers. This movie presents that logic in a straight forward, unflinching manner. It is a must-see. Skip all the other "Dreamer", "Seabiscuit", contest animal movies, and see this one first. You'll be glad you did...
July 3, 2008
Heartwrenching story, beautifully acted, wonderful location filming in Northern Ireland. Touching and sweet, good story, well written. A fine film.
December 5, 2007
I wouldn't say this movie was bad, but I also wouldn't say that it was entertaining. First of all the cinematography matched that of a BBC made for tv special. So no real creativity there. The story was good. Yet it wasn't facinating. As for the cast, it seems the right people were chosen. Ken Stott and Robert Carlyle are great actors, and Mulder didn't dissapoint with her thick Irish accent. Its just a pity they were put into such a bland film.
January 17, 2015
A little hard to watch because its so sad, but really great message/story and acting by all.
½ March 23, 2013
A reasonably straight forward real life drama with no-nonsense attitude. It might possibly narrow it's audience due to the strong Irish accent, but this is one of the many important ingredients that make, what could be a very average film - really good.

Some inspired British style camera work together with a Dub-Celt soundtrack really give this film it's feel. And it all seems plausible, but not predictable. What does work particularly well is how each character and sub plot seem carefully balanced with their own importance in the storyline, nothing is wasted or filling time.

Natural performances from all the small cast and a surprisingly good combo of Carlyle & Anderson adds a close personal feel and keeps this story easy to contain.

If you don't mind a bit of swearing and kids smoking then this film is great for all ages and generations.
September 10, 2012
Low budget indeed, but worked with intelligence, feeling and genuine talent. A sincere and clean view towards the relationship between dogs and humans.
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2012
A delightful, yet powerful story. Touching. Heartbreaking. Well done...really could use some subtitles, though.
½ January 29, 2011
Tyone McKenna portrays Donal, a Belfast teenager who lives with his single mother, Kate (Gillian Anderson) and has an after school job working for local greyhound trainer, Good Joe (Ken Stott).

When Donal sees Joe preparing to kill one of the greyhounds becuase he thinks the dog will only win the races it wants to win, Donal offers to train the dog. A bond between boy and dog ensues and after naming him The Mighty Celt after a character in Irish mythology, Donal strikes a deal with Joe... he can have the dog as long as it wins three races, otherwise it belongs to Joe to do with as he wishes.

Alongside this, a figure from the town's past reappears in the form of O (Robert Carlyle) and enters Donal's and Kate's lives.

When Joe becomes jealous of Donal's relationship with O, he goes back on his arrangement which leads to tensions exploding between Donal, O and Joe.


I found out about this film when I visited Belfast roughly 18 months ago. I went on a guided pub walk and visited one of the locations used in the film (where O and Kate go out for a drink). Once I found this out, I had to get the film and although it is a quiet drama which doesn't set out to change the world, it is a good drama.

Gillian Anderson delivers another good performance as Kate and her scenes with Tyrone McKenna are believable of those of a mother and her son. Her scenes with Carlyle are also effective as he tries to break down the barriers of woman whose previous relationship has broken down and whose brother was killed in a paramilitary operation involving O.

Robert Carlyle is solid as usual in the role of O. He underplays the character and you do see a man who has become sickened by the violence of the "Troubles" after years on the run, of a man who has basically lost touch with a world that's moved on and a man who is now at peace with himself.

Ken Stott is cast as an effective antagonist in the role of Good Joe and it's apparent from the first frames of the film that Joe is anything but good and Stott is powerful in the handling of his final scenes in the film.

But it's Tyrone McKenna who is the star of the film as Donal. He effectively builds an on screen rapport with all three leads and with "The Celt".

As I said it's a quiet drama but a solid drama which asks a very pertinent question for today's society towards the film's conclusion, who is the braver man - the one who embraces violence or the one who walks away.
Theta Sigma
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2011
Tyone McKenna portrays Donal, a Belfast teenager who lives with his single mother, Kate (Gillian Anderson) and has an after school job working for local greyhound trainer, Good Joe (Ken Stott).

When Donal sees Joe preparing to kill one of the greyhounds becuase he thinks the dog will only win the races it wants to win, Donal offers to train the dog. A bond between boy and dog ensues and after naming him The Mighty Celt after a character in Irish mythology, Donal strikes a deal with Joe... he can have the dog as long as it wins three races, otherwise it belongs to Joe to do with as he wishes.

Alongside this, a figure from the town's past reappears in the form of O (Robert Carlyle) and enters Donal's and Kate's lives.

When Joe becomes jealous of Donal's relationship with O, he goes back on his arrangement which leads to tensions exploding between Donal, O and Joe.


I found out about this film when I visited Belfast roughly 18 months ago. I went on a guided pub walk and visited one of the locations used in the film (where O and Kate go out for a drink). Once I found this out, I had to get the film and although it is a quiet drama which doesn't set out to change the world, it is a good drama.

Gillian Anderson delivers another good performance as Kate and her scenes with Tyrone McKenna are believable of those of a mother and her son. Her scenes with Carlyle are also effective as he tries to break down the barriers of woman whose previous relationship has broken down and whose brother was killed in a paramilitary operation involving O.

Robert Carlyle is solid as usual in the role of O. He underplays the character and you do see a man who has become sickened by the violence of the "Troubles" after years on the run, of a man who has basically lost touch with a world that's moved on and a man who is now at peace with himself.

Ken Stott is cast as an effective antagonist in the role of Good Joe and it's apparent from the first frames of the film that Joe is anything but good and Stott is powerful in the handling of his final scenes in the film.

But it's Tyrone McKenna who is the star of the film as Donal. He effectively builds an on screen rapport with all three leads and with "The Celt".

As I said it's a quiet drama but a solid drama which asks a very pertinent question for today's society towards the film's conclusion, who is the braver man - the one who embraces violence or the one who walks away.
½ October 23, 2010
Gillian Anderson with an Irish accent!!!
½ March 27, 2010
Very much in the mould of Kes, this little Irish film is charming and has more bite than trailers or DVD covers would suggest.
March 14, 2010
wow umn just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch...its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie...i think that tyrone mckenna, sean mcginley, robert carlyle, john travers, ken stott, mark mccavanagh, gilliam anderson, bernard manning, alison finnegan play good roles/parts thorughout this movie...i think that the director of this drama/romance/comedy movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie...i think that robert carlyle/gillian anderson play good parts throughout this movie....i think that this is a really sad movie 2 watch as well but this is a brilliant movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie
January 8, 2010
I have seen most of Gillian's movies... but can't wait to see this one soon
December 1, 2009
Gillian Anderson is good, deserving props for trying something new as ever, but this is bland and quite dull. Just feels like a typical BBC Film, made with little flair or originality.
October 19, 2009
Worth seeing to watch Gillian Anderson as a Belfast single mum - our accent sounds pretty feckin strange coming out of her mouth.
March 20, 2009
it was a brilliant but sad film
½ March 7, 2008
If you speak English you will most likely not be able to watch this movie without subtitles. None the less, the movie itself isn't bad. It's kind of boring in the beginning and seems to drag on and on. However it gets the audiences attention enough that when the ending does come it shocks you. Watching this movie you'd think it was a sort of disney like film, but it proves to go along a line all of its own. Gillian Anderson's accent wasn't bad either, even though it was very hard to understand sometimes, but that's just me.
October 20, 2008
It was a Cinequest (my local indie film festival) offering. Very slow start. It didnt' pick up for me until Kate's ex re-entered in her and life watched how he & Donal's relationship evolved.
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