Part of this is arguably by design. Buddy (Jude Hill), nine years old, is our way into the story. Played with unshowy realism by Hill, Buddy is a good, naïve kid. As a result, it makes sense that his grasp of rising religious and nationalistic tensions—as well as familial strain–around him would either sail over his head or be too big for him to approach understanding.
Unfortunately, Belfast can never find the valence to capture how The Troubles would feel through Buddy’s eyes. Buddy’s street seems evenly divided between Protestant families—of which Buddy’s is one—and Catholic ones.