Ever wish that "Footloose" had an air of socialist politics and was set in a 1930s Ireland beset with civil unrest? Then "Jimmy's Hall" is the movie you've been dreaming of.

Ever wish that "Footloose" had an air of socialist politics and was set in a 1930s Ireland beset with civil unrest? Then "Jimmy's Hall" is the movie you've been dreaming of.

Sure, that's a pop-culture oversimplification of the latest film from veteran director Ken Loach, but the reference will not be lost as you navigate the thick Irish brogues and thicker political and social overtones.

After a decade spent in exile in America, Jimmy Gralton (Barry Ward) returns to his Irish home. He was cast out for running a hall where people could come to gather, learn, converse ideas and, yes, dance.

His return has drawn the consternation of the local authorities and clergy, but it also stirs excitement among the young people who encourage Jimmy to reopen the hall.

"Jimmy's Hall" is a warm movie where the undercurrent of politics is always there, but only occasionally preachy. The "Footloose" comparison is apt, as the local religious and political leaders are cast as thought police who fear free expression as a sign of rebellion.

Ward is quite charming in the lead, and the film is shot in gorgeous green-blue hues that evoke the atmosphere of the Emerald Isle.

But Loach's narrative feels a bit spotty, often propelled by choruses of "yeah, me, too!" from groups of bystanders - the sort that work on stage but feel awkward on screen.

Likewise, the climate of this true story wasn't well set up for anyone who doesn't know the schisms of Depression-era Ireland … but we all can relate to the need to dance.