Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. Ireland/United Kingdom/USA, 2002. Hell’s Kitchen Films, East of Harlem (UK) Ltd., Irish Film Industry. Screenplay by Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan. Cinematography by Declan Quinn. Produced by Arthur Lappin, Jim Sheridan. Music by Gavin Friday, Maurice Seezer. Production Design by Mark Geraghty. Costume Design by Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh. Film Editing by Naomi Geraghty. Academy Awards 2003. American Film Institute Awards 2003. Golden Globe Awards 2003. Independent Spirit Awards 2003. National Board of Review Awards 2003. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2003. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
In this beautifully heartfelt film by Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In The Name of the Father), an Irish family illegally immigrates to New York City to fulfill the father’s (Paddy Considine) dream of becoming an actor. Meanwhile, his wife (Samantha Morton) works a grueling job as a waitress to help them survive as they raise their two daughters (real-life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger) in a junkie-inhabited dive of an apartment building. As we watch their many hardships and personal joys, the family manages to survive life in the Big Apple by making new friends and trying to escape the death of their son whose shadow seems to loom over them all, especially the eldest daughter. Djimon Hounsou has an excellent supporting role as an artist who lives downstairs from them and befriends the two youngsters. The acting in this film couldn’t possibly be better, neither from Morton and Considine nor from the two very fine young ladies who bring the children to life so beautifully. Though it deals with a difficult story, is is rewarding and heartwarming without ever being dishonest. Photographed beautifully by Declan Quinn and written, semi-autobiographically, by Sheridan and his two daughters.