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
Jim Sheridan said in interview that the character of Frankie, the dead son, was based Frankie Sheridan, his late brother. The film is dedicated to this Frankie in closing credits. See more »
The early scenes, when the family first arrive in New York, are set in summertime, yet they drive through Midtown at night past people dressed in winter clothing, a Christmas-season Target billboard, and the Radio City Music Hall Christmas tree. 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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