During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.
This bitter sweet comedy follows protagonist Robbie as he sneaks into the maternity hospital to visit his young girlfriend Leonie and hold his newborn son Luke for the first time. Overwhelmed by the moment, he swears that Luke will not have the same tragic life he has had. Escaping a prison sentence by the skin of his teeth, he's given one last chance......While serving a community service order, he meets Rhino, Albert and Mo who, like him, find it impossible to find work because of their criminal records. Little did Robbie imagine how turning to drink might change their lives - not cheap fortified wine, but the best malt whiskies in the world. Will it be 'slopping out' for the next twenty years, or a new future with 'Uisge Beatha' the 'Water of Life?' Only the angels know........ Written by
Rebecca O'Brien, producer
My main conclusion after watching The Angel's Share is that I haven't seen enough Ken Loach films.
Obviously I was interested to see The Angel's Share given the Scottish setting and the little bit of hype that the film has received here through its appearance at the Cannes Film Festival. I wasn't disappointed by any aspect of the movie and would recommend it to anyone.
The characters are real and the acting is hard to fault. The film strikes a great balance between highlighting the mistakes the main character, Robbie, made in the past and not being overly sympathetic, and at the same time recognising that he deserves a chance to build a better future and put it all behind him. The inclusion of the scene where Robbie is confronted by one of his former victims and the victim's family was inspired.
All of the performances given are believable, but i'd reserve a special mention for John Henshaw, who plays Harry. There's an almost intangible sadness to the character where you know he's also trying to make up for earlier mistakes in his life, although the film never goes into details. Very understated and poignant in parts.
Above all, this is a film with heart and has something for everyone.
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