Following the tragic death of their five-year-old son Frankie, Irish couple Johnny and Sarah Sullivan and their remaining two offspring, 10 year old Christy Sullivan and 5 year old Ariel Sullivan, emigrate illegally to the United States via Canada with little in their pockets. Their final destination is Manhattan where Johnny hopes to work as a stage actor. They move into a unit in a run town tenement housed primarily with drug addicts, transvestites and one tenant coined "the man who screams". They do whatever they can to eke out a supportive family environment in this difficult situation, the support which ultimately extends to those around them, most specifically "the screamer" who turns out to be an African-American artist named Mateo with AIDS. But the memory of Frankie hangs over the family in good and bad ways, especially as Sarah learns she's pregnant. Christy, who records their life's goings-on with her beloved camcorder, believes that the angel of Frankie has granted her ... Written by
During casting calls, director Jim Sheridan recalls that after a long day of auditions, he was very glad to have found Emma Bolger to play Ariel. He said that that little girl "told" him that he had to cast her sister Sarah Bolger as Christy. Sarah was only 10, and he had wanted Chirsty to be 12 or 13. After exhausting all other options, he auditioned Sarah for the part of Christy and she turned out to be so impressive that he didn't mind about her age. See more »
When Christy is helping Johnny learn his lines at the café (after visiting Sarah in the hospital), Ariel's two front teeth are adult teeth. In the next scene, when Ariel and Christy are in bed, they are back to being baby teeth. See more »
There's some things you should wish for and some things you shouldn't. That's what my little brother Frankie told me. He told me I only had three wishes, and I looked into his eyes, and I don't know why I believed him.
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Two of the reasons for going to see this film are: Emma and Christy Bolger. They steal the movie from under more established stars. They make us see their new world through their eyes. It is magic to them to be in a new city, where they discover new things every day. They are disarming.
America, the land that receives so many immigrants can be a hostile environment for a lot of people. For Johnny and Sarah, New York is a place full of surprises, as it must be to a lot of people whose dream is to make it there. This film is about their struggle to survive in pursuing a dream that turns out to be a nightmare for them, in many respects.
Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton make the struggling Irish immigrants very real under the direction of Jim Sheridan, who is supposed to be the Johnny of the story. What they have to deal with in their new home, eventually make them conquer a world that's not kind to them. Nothing is given to them on a silver platter, which is the case with most illegal people in the country, so their tale is very believable and true to the pioneer spirit they have within themselves.
It is the fantastic performance of the two Bolger sisters, as the daughters, which brings this film into focus. They have their feet on the ground and they know the ordeal their parents are facing. Their luminous faces and natural endear them to us in a special way.
We owe Mr. Sheridan and family a lot for their courage to show us what they went through at their arrival in America.
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