Ireland/UK, Jim Sheridan (2002)
In America is my new crusade movie. I’m telling everyone I know to go see this film.
This is director Jim Sheridan’s (My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father) semi-autobiographical tale of an Irish family coming to America to find a better life and escape the death of their son. Samantha Morton (Sweet and Lowdown) gives another amazing performance as the mom, but this film belongs to the two sisters, Emma and Sarah Bolger, through whose eyes this story is told. These two little girls give amazing performances as Ariel, an outgoing eight-year-old charmer and Christy, the 12-year-old who’s wise beyond her years, and helps her parents to acknowledge their grief and move on.
Here’s why I like this movie so much:
- The characters seem so very real. I believed, when I walked out of the theatre, that this family really exists and that they’re doing just fine now.
- Where it could have slid into sickening sentiment it was saved by an intelligent script and acting that was grounded in reality.
- Christy has a camcorder that she takes with her everywhere, recording everything. It’s an effective device that works not as a gimmick but as a part of the storytelling, and I thought it was effectively integrated into the narrative.
- There are a couple of times when characters look directly into the camera as they speak. These moments in the film just reached right out and grabbed me by the heart. It broke down the wall between the screen and the audience, and I felt like I was completely immersed in what was happening.
- I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and I couldn’t predict how it was going to end. And, I loved the ending.
Here’s the Gist: An amazing little film that deserves a big audience. [*****]