In America (2002)
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Every role, right down to the two border guards and the hospital administrator are perfectly cast and performed. The two sisters playing the daughters are amazing. But the acting in the film really belongs to Samantha Morton. It really is a high wire act. In lesser hands this character might have been completely unbelievable. But her love for her husband and children is so palpable, you completely buy everything she has to go through with them.
There were so many chances for cheap sentiment here, but the movie never went there. Really beautiful.
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.
"In America" is a magnificent and very positive tale of friendship and survival. The story is very simple and dramatic, but never corny, and the very convincing performance of the cast is amazing and touching. Jim Sheridan was able to direct the six years old Emma Bolger and achieve an outstanding performance in the role of Ariel. Her eleven years old sister, Sarah Bolger, has also a stunning dramatic and key role in the story. I dare to write that two stars are born! Summarizing, "In America" is a highly recommended touching, powerful, sensitive, positive and magnificent movie. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Terra dos Sonhos" ("Land of the Dreams")
I read some of the comments of others. They all seem to be negative. I really enjoyed it. My family and I were riveted the whole time. I saw neither inconsistencies nor over melodrama. That is, I saw no more that in any other movies. All movies are just snapshots and almost all are lies. This one is no more or less in that regard. It was a melodrama about over coming tragedy. It communicated to me.
The actors were realistic. I especially enjoyed the girls. I also enjoy seeing
Sorry for you naysayers. You are just picking the nits from the nats.
The family consists of a father , mother , two young girls, and the subtle presence of a boy who died shortly before the family emigrated. His presence however is felt through the film. .
The mother becomes pregnant soon after , but must make a choice. If the child is born too early he/she would probably not survive, if carried to term the mother's life would be in peril.
A subplot develops when the family befriend an eccentric black painter. Mateo. played brilliantly by Djimon Hounsou. They establish a bond that transcends their different backgrounds.
The pregnant mother takes the courageous step not to terminate her pregnancy.
As it is my practice I will not divulge anymore information, since It is my function as an author to comment on a film in order to either promote it or tell the reader it isn't worth his/her time. Also i'm not going to give away the best scenes and dialogue. That my dear reader you will see for yourself when you view this masterpiece of a film.
You must see it.
'In America' is a wonderful movie with a touching story and outstanding acting performances. Paddy Considine was the only one who was a bit disappointing, although he wasn't bad at all. Samantha Morton was excellent and very believable as a strong Irish mother. Djimon Hounsou was truly amazing. It's hard to describe how good his acting was! Although his role wasn't that big, he has made quite an impression on me. Personally, I loved the following two scenes the most. First there was the scene were Ariel and Christy tell Mateo about the loss of their brother Frankie. Mateo spontaneously starts crying, but what makes the scene unforgettable is the small white hand of Ariel on the strong black arm of Mateo. Beautiful! The second scene that I loved a lot, was the scene where Johnny comes to Mateo. He tells him a bit about his lost son, tells him about the fact he can't laugh or cry anymore, asks him if he's in love with his wife. The answer of Mateo, he tells him he's in love with anything that lives, is another strong scene with breathtaking acting from Hounsou's part! And then there are the two girls. Charming, heartwarming, very touching and sweet, spontaneous and honest! Both give amazing performances. The stole my heart from the minute I saw them. The funny detail is that they really are two sisters.
I don't know anymore how often I have to repeat it, but this movie is a must see for everyone. This is the kind of movie you enjoy every time you'll see it again. Jim Sheridan made (again!) a great movie. See it!
The film shows the struggles of a poor family dealing with the loss of their son/brother. Showing the struggles of money has been seen in many films before, recently "the pursuit of happiness". I think this film delivers it in an accurate way without becoming a sob story.
One of the best scenes in the film is when the family are at the fairground, one of the girls asks for an ET teddy which can be won on one of the stalls. This scene is gripping as the father tries to win the ET teddy for his youngest daughter, you can see the pain going through the fathers face as he tries to prove himself to his daughter as the dollars are rushing away from him. It makes quite simply brilliant viewing.
I also thought it was great to see the father show his lack of faith in God since losing his son. When the two daughters ask him to kneel and pray, and he refuses. You can see just how much he has lost his faith in God, a great scene.
The connection between the father and eldest daughter during the final scene was excellently heartwarming, it showed everything the film was all about in one powerful scene. Pure genius! 9/10 Paddy Considine is one of the best actors i have seen on film this year, with "In America" and "Dead Mans Shoes". I simply great actor.
Jim was afraid that some of the material may be too heavy. I disagree. There was more honest, heartfelt joy in this movie than I have ever seen. The acting from all involved was simply superb. I'm sure most of what you hear about this movie from critics will be focused on the two daughters. Don't get me wrong, these two girls could teach any actor a lesson or two. But the talent does not end with them. Jim's directing style of telling the actors how he sees the story and then letting them figure out how to show it has never been more successful than in this film.
Two scenes in particular struck me as I was immersed in this film. Looking into the actors eyes, it was as if they realized at that moment what a powerful tale they were retelling. Jim confirmed my notions at the end of the film when he mentioned that both these scenes were filmed as an artistic afterthought once scheduled production was complete. Of course my two favorite scenes were the ones not part of the real story but I can't be too upset. Here Jim gives something back to his actors to let them give back to him what this tale meant to them.
I believe this will be released mationwide in the states around Thanksgiving. Do your self a favor, see it.
Irish émigrés Johnny (Paddy Considine) and Sarah (Samantha Morton) come to America by car from Canada with their two young children, Christy (Sarah Bolger) and Ariel (Emma Bolger). The film shows the struggles of the family to find work. Johnny, the girls father, is an actor who goes to many auditions without success and their mother Sarah, a teacher, can only find work in an ice cream parlor. The family is forced to live in a squalid tenement in Manhattan filled with junkies, drug dealers, and transvestites. Frankie, the brother who died of a brain tumor is omnipresent in their thoughts and Christy says that he has told her that he will grant her three wishes when she asks.
Shame over poverty leads people to do reckless things and one of Christy's wishes has to be expended when her father gambles the rent money in an amusement park. When Halloween comes, the only place they can go trick or treating is in their own rundown building. Here they meet Mateo (Djimon Hounsou), one of the central characters of the film, a huge black man dying of AIDS who provides a bit of magic and emotional support. When Sarah becomes pregnant, they are even more haunted by Frankie's death but the prospect of a new life provides the impetus for them to persevere. In America has its flaws but it is warm, charming, and full of wonder and works on a very personal level to remind us that love, generosity, and even magic can exist in the most unlikely circumstances.
Their son, who fell down the stairs at age 2, dies of a brain tumor at 5. And the two maladies are related how?
We see a hot summer, fall trick or treating, a snowy winter, but there is barely any story worth caring about here. It's pieces of their life strung together with no real direction. It's just a bunch of sentimental vignettes. He pulls the air conditioner down the middle of the street cuz he is so determined. The kids are made fun of cuz their costumes are homemade. Boo Hoo. And these idiots gamble hundreds of dollars at a carnival game to win an E.T. doll?! Something like that makes me think the characters are out of their minds, not get behind them.
When the kids trick or treat in their, "junkie building", they go into the apartment of "the man who screams", and the dad wonders if it's okay? We have seen nothing to make us believe that their kids aren't going to be harmed in there. Excellent parenting.
Okay you get it. How this thing made anybody's top ten films, and was recommend by Ebert and Roeper is beyond me. Roper says, "I will remember it forever." Me too. I will remember it as the film that took 1 hour and 40 minutes of my life away that I can never get back. The merciful part is the cover say 1hr45mins. So, it could have been worse. My wife and I support our local indie film house and absolutely have no problem seeing a slower paced, downer movie, if we have a reason to care about it. There was just nothing about these people worth investing our emotions in. Watch this film at your own risk.
I constantly wanted to yell at the TV 'Why are you doing that?!?! Stop it!'.
Many of the situations were a direct result of stupid actions by the parents, and a complete disregard for common sense.
Basically this totally removed any sympathy I may have had for the characters.
What further added to this frustration was the feeling that this could have been a very solid movie - if only they had given the parents something resembling parental responsibility.
This is the worst movie since Dear God or maybe even Death Becomes Her. The only redeeming feature here is the acting, which is good. Too bad it's wasted on the pathetic excuse for a story.
Basically, it's about a nice Irish family which immigrates to the United States and resides in New York. These are poor people, but not the destitute situation of, let's say, the McCourt family from "Angela's Ashes."
What stood out to me were the nice, cute little girls in this family, played by real- life sisters, Emma and Sarah Bolger. They were the kind of sweet kids you wish you'd see more of in modern films. Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton played the parents, "Johnny and Sarah" nicely and Djimon Hounson played the nice neighbor with the strange powers.
Overall, it's a pleasant, positive feel-good film.
For myself to watch in a film a father talk of his loss of faith and not being able to feel.. I understand that..
For myself to watch a mother try to deal and cope with guilt.. I understand that..
For myself to watch two siblings have to of suffered such heartache and such a young age.. I understand that because of my own children.
Well done it was beautiful and the two little girls of course were gorgeous..
Thankyou for sharing Franky's story, Frankys memory and hopefully opening up the eyes of others to the pain & struggles of bereaved parents.
Also, it's about Irish people moving to America, so the Academy felt like that it was so important that they have to nominate it.
They probably haven't seen the movie and just nominated it anyway.
The sex scene was just ridiculous. If you thought the sex scene in Showgirls was bad, here, we have tribal music playing. Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy........
Sarah looks more like she is performing a ritual rather than having it off. And after they climax, we hear "And that was how my brother was conceived."
It's just so laughable.
Also, Jim Sheridan wrote this movie with his daughters. Imagine writing a sex scene with your children.
Also, the character of Mateo can perform magic to bring people back to life? How out of place, stereotypical and stupid can you get?
The scene where Sarah is dying and Mateo bring her back to life, made put my head in my hands in disbelief.
"Really?" I thought. "This Oscar nominated movie has a scene where a character is brought back from the dead? When did this become Pokemon: The First Movie?"
And yes, the E.T. doll that is supposed to be a metaphor for bringing the dead back to life. On your bike!
The names in this project attracted me to it and I did have high hopes for it. The film itself though is a strange, rather frustratingly mixed affair that is really good in some regards but annoyingly soapy in others. The plot is not really a plot in the traditional sense but more the recollections of moving into the new world told from the perspective of elder daughter Christy. I was fine with this approach and hoped that it would be convincing, engaging, moving and so on. Although you can see everyone working against it, the film cannot avoid the spirit of sentimentality and soapy-drama seeping into the majority of the scenes. This takes away from the grit and reality of the drama and does make it harder to get into because it doesn't engage in the way that the same events may have if they had been delivered with more grit and less of the soapy-inspirational quality.
It is a shame that the film cannot shake this off but it is not the fault of the cast who are roundly really good. Considine yet again gives me good reason to respect him as an actor, likewise Morton who works well with him as well as individually. They are really well supported by two very natural and engaging performances from the Bolger sisters; they are "cute kids" but not in a way that is cloying or annoying. Hounsou has a strong presence in the film and to his credit he delivers this despite the material handed him not because of it. The cast doesn't really have a weakness and one can only imagine what this film would have been if Sheridan had been given people capable of a lot less.
Overall then this is a mixed affair. The performances and direction makes it better than it could otherwise have been, but these cannot shake off the sentimentality and soapy feel that much of it has. The end result is a film that has great moments and a story that I really wanted to lose myself in but ultimately was just too melodramatic at its core for all the strengths to totally overcome.
What further breathes life into the movie are the powerful performances. 'In America' rests on Paddy Considine and he bravely carries the film. It is an outstanding performance and I wonder why it got little recognition while Morton and Hounsou walked away with the accolades. A sublime Samantha Morton gives a beautifully nuanced subtle performance and Djimon Hounsou is phenomenal. These two actors indeed deserved all the recognition they got for their performances. The two child actors deserve special mention as I have hardly been impressed by child actors (who I find annoying on screen most of the time). Sarah Bolger particularly does well as the elder daughter. The supporting cast are all fit for their parts.
I loved the way Sheridan portrayed the relationship within the family and their wonderful and unique friendship with Matteo. It is shown in a very intimate and real way. While a lot is happening in the front, Sheridan also shows subtle events in the background. The background score contributes to the moments. On the whole, 'In America' is a genuine story. It is breathtaking!