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Angela's Ashes (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  21 January 2000 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 15,642 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 157 user | 98 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

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 »

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Title: Angela's Ashes (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Joe Breen ...
Ciaran Owens ...
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Ronnie Masterson ...
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Eanna MacLiam ...
Andrew Bennett ...
Narrator (voice)
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Young Malachy (as Shane Murray Corcoran)
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Middle Malachy
...
Older Malachy
Aaron Geraghty ...
New Born Michael
Sean Carney Daly ...
Baby Michael
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Storyline

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 KB-26

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

irish | limerick | ira | drink | prejudice | See All (240) »

Taglines:

The Hopes of a Mother. The Dreams of a Father. The Fate of a Child.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

21 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las cenizas de Ángela  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,351,095 (UK) (14 January 2000)

Gross:

$13,038,660 (USA) (19 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Liam Neeson was also in talks to play the male lead. See more »

Goofs

The Statue of Liberty is shown with the solid, gold-plated flame (installed in 1984) instead of the old multi-paned lighthouse flame that in place during the timeframe of this film. See more »

Quotes

Older Frank: [confessing to Francis of Assisi as a priest listens] I hit my mother...
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Connections

References The Godfather: Part II (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Stampede
Music by R.H. Bassett
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Good adaptation of a great book
13 May 2005 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

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.


19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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