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In America - Preview & signed poster competition



Preview by: Jack Foley

ACCLAIMED writer/director, Jim Sheridan, has been responsible for some of the finest dramas of recent times, with movies such as the Academy Award winning My Left Foot, as well as In The Name of the Father and The Boxer.

Now, however, he brings viewers the semi-autobiographical In America, a quite stunning movie, which chronicles the life of an Irish immigrant family as they try to adapt to life in the Big Apple following the death of their son.

The film centres around Johnny (Paddy Considine), a young actor sneaking his wife, Sarah (Samantha Morton), and daughters, Christy and Ariel (real-life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger, respectively), over the Canadian border in the hopes of jump-starting his career in NYC.

To get things started, they move into a dank, dilapidated apartment building, populated by drug dealers, transients, and thugs, but Johnny finds it more difficult that he thinks to find work, particular as his grief has effectively show down his emotions.

In what becomes an increasingly desperate situation, compounded by the fact that Sarah becomes pregnant again, a little ray of hope is offered when Johnny's daughters befriend an eccentric artist neighbour named Mateo (Gladiator's Djimon Hounsou), who changes their lives in ways none would think possible.

In America received its world premiere at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, where it played to enthusiastic crowds, before also appearing at this year's 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

IndieLondon has also seen the film, and has to say it is a classic; destined to be among the most warmly received of the year, once it opens on October 31.

Morton is typically excellent, but Considine is the revelation, turning in a quite stunning performance as the frustrated father.

And we're not alone in predicting great things for it.

IndieWire.com caught up with it at Toronto, and posted its verdict prior to its showing at New York's Tribeca Film Festival, stating that 'this autobiographical film about a poor Irish family trying to make it in contemporary New York does end up jerking plenty of tears, to be sure, but the tears, somehow, feel well-earned'.

It adds: "The director of such classics as My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father shows himself here to be at the height of his storytelling powers, and if the film ultimately relies, once you probe the surface, on some stock characters and some familiar situations, both are well disguised by innovative scriptwriting and some brilliant performances."

Similar praise was dished out by the Hollywood Reporter, which referred to it as 'richly observed, beautifully written and performed', while Variety noted that it is 'a sweetly benign look at the immigrant experience'.

The film, itself, had been envisaged as a project for Kate Winslet and Ewan MacGregor, but the former opted for The Magician's Wife, while the latter took on the upcoming Young Adam. It has also been known as East of Harlem.

Distributor, Fox Searchlight, had been intending to release it late last year, as a potential Oscar contender; but has now settled for November of this year, when it will, again, emerge as a film which could boast strong Academy Award potential.

Click on the links to the right of this page to win a signed poster from the cast and director.

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