Zoë 🐝’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm very glad I saw this in theaters. One of the best films of 2019 I've seen this year, and one that examines the impact of Scorsese films of the past and (in my opinion) tackles toxic masculinity much more deftly than expected.
I love a lot of Scorsese films, Goodfellas and Taxi Driver included, but both of those films have been consumed very differently by less critical audiences. The nuance of both stories, about how both the main characters are not cool and are not heroes. The Irishman does not shy away from the aftermath of a life of crime. It's clearly not worth it. Families are destroyed, his only close and genuine friendship is ruined by his own hand, and he is alone and scared to die at the end of his life. While Peggy is given very few lines, her character is fascinating and well developed, and essentially the heart of the film. She is the reason we see that performing violent masculinity for your children is never worth it, and that getting involved in dangerous activity under the guise of protecting your family is untrue. Frank does it for himself, not for their protection. It's intense and tragic. It reminds me of some of the gangster movies of the 30s, all ending with the message that crime does not pay. Scorsese does not want the message of this film twisted, even with some genuinely hilarious moments at the beginning, it is ultimately a tragic end.
(Also this is SO Catholic and I loved it!)