Based on the best selling autobiography by Irish expat Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes follows the experiences of young Frankie and his family as they try against all odds to escape the ... See full summary »
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Based on the best selling autobiography by Irish expat Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes follows the experiences of young Frankie and his family as they try against all odds to escape the poverty endemic in the slums of pre-war Limerick. The film opens with the family in Brooklyn, but following the death of one of Frankie's siblings, they return home, only to find the situation there even worse. Prejudice against Frankie's Northern Irish father makes his search for employment in the Republic difficult despite his having fought for the IRA, and when he does find money, he spends the money on drink. Written by
This film was a joint production of Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios. The two studios had crossed paths on several earlier occasions:
-In 1962, Universal merged with MCA, which had bought most of Paramount's pre-1950 sound features in 1957. -In 1970, the two studios merged their international operations to form Cinema International Corporation. That company became United International Pictures in 1981. -The two studios co-produced two other films in the late 1970s.
Since then, the two studios have split distribution rights to three other films, and through Paramount's purchase of DreamWorks in 2006, co-own seven other films released between 1998 and 2005. See more »
The newsreel shows German troops reoccupying the Rhineland in 1936. When middle Frank was watching the newsreel, he was 10 years old and therefore the year would be 1940, when Germany were occupying most of Europe and WWII was a year underway. See more »
[confessing to Francis of Assisi as a priest listens]
I hit my mother...
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Alan Parker has made many films which adapt material from other media. I have been less than thrilled with most of these, but I've enjoyed one or two. Angela's Ashes is one of his better works, but it adapts a book which< I would argue, can not be properly adapted.
This is a very pure, almost sterile, adaptation of the original memoir "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt. It chronicles vignettes in the family history of the McCourt's, a poor Irish Catholic family struggling to survive in early 20th century Ireland. The film, like the book, is stark, painful, hopeful, powerful, and deftly accurate. More than a period piece, this film works as a dramatic rendering of social history.
Unlike the book, this film depicts Frank's childhood from a disembodied third person perspective, though it is liberally complemented by an effective voice-over narrative drawn almost directly from McCourt's own prose. Frank is the oldest of several siblings (many of whom never reach adulthood), in a family suffering from poverty, alcoholism, and persecution. Although the film has many positive messages, like the lives of the McCourt's, it's not an easy road. Those who wish to be simply entertained should probably not bother.
The performances are all exquisite. Kudos to the cast and the director for making them all look so great. Visually, the film is stunning for its starkness and powerful use of contrast. The pace is a little breathless at times, but, given the richness of the original work, this is appropriate.
All considered, this is a very worthy representation of the book. The only quibble I have stems from the very act of translating what was a very intensely personal, first-person memoir into a third-person medium like film, not from anything the production team did, or from the script and cast. It would likely have been impossible in a mainstream film to depict the texture and poetics of McCourt's prose to the extent that viewers would really feel that they had grown up with him and knew him like a member of their own family. This is how the book made me feel, and seeing the movie after the book I was reminded of the feeling, but not quite so powerfully affected. I would agree that reading the book first will help you enjoy this film, however, I also believe that this stands well on its own.
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