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
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
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.