"[Branagh's] most intimate and deeply felt film to date."
— Katie Rosseinsky, London Evening Standard
"It will nab an easy best picture Oscar nomination next year."
— Kevin Maher, Times (UK)
"It’s a heartfelt salute from Branagh to his hometown, and what he loved there."
— Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"The story that's told is deeply affecting, and how many films contain five superb performances? This one does."
— Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"Love letters to the past are always addressed to an illusion, yet this is such a seductive piece of myth-making from Branagh."
— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"The result is engaging, tender film-making which tugs at the heart-strings, spurred by a sympathetic cast and the young lead, newcomer Jude Hill."
— Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
"Gorgeously shot (Haris Zambarloukos) B&W footage, with exquisite lighting and ample portrait-like closeups, makes this memoir eye-catching and enchanting."
— Dwight Brown, National Newspaper Publishers Association
"The acting is brilliant across the board, starting with Jude Hill; who really does seem like a nine-year-old Branagh and doesn't have a false moment on screen."
— Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"The film feels true in the way it must be exploring Branagh’s memories of a tumultuous and confusing time, and the way it pays tribute to a vibrant community as that community is irrevocably changed."
— Steve Pond, TheWrap
"Belfast is a love letter to both a city, and the ghosts of Kenneth Branagh’s past. There’s clearly soul-searching going on as he re-examines events from his childhood, and how they affected those he loved, and the decisions they made."
— Chris Tilly, IGN
"Kenneth Branagh makes a masterful memoir of his tumultuous Irish boyhood....set during the Protestant-Catholic conflicts of the late 1960s, the film is both specific and universal, grand and intimate, sweetly romantic and shockingly violent."
— Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
"No wonder Kenneth Branagh’s funny, touching and vital look at his own coming of age in Northern Ireland’s turbulent capital city is the Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture. No movie this year cuts a clearer, truer path of the heart. It’s his personal best."
— Peter Travers, ABC News
"Branagh has directed all kinds of movies over the past 30 years, from his frequent adaptations of Shakespeare to 'Cinderella' and the aforementioned "Thor." It's perhaps appropriate, though, that his most personal film would also turn out to be his crowning achievement."
— Brian Lowry, CNN
"Here, the working-class milieu invites imagination, adventure, and camaraderie rather than a Ken Loach-style crushing of hope, while a climactic confrontation on divided streets is framed like a thrilling showdown in a black-hat-vs.-white-hat western. But it is the child’s- eye view, the wit, and the generosity of spirit on show that elevate Branagh’s Belfast."
— Kevin Harley, Total Film
"The parts of the movie that are going to resonate the most have the pacing they need to bring up one’s own memories of listening to a grandparent’s advice, of doing something you shouldn’t have to impress someone, or working up the nerve to talk to someone you liked. Perhaps these resurfaced memories are an unintended souvenir of visiting Branagh’s 'Belfast,' but it’s one that may stick with moviegoers for quite some time after the credits roll."
— Monica Castillo, The Playlist