In America

"Extraordinary"

In America Review


There is a scene early in In America where a young Irish immigrant girl sticks her head out of the car window she is riding in to soak in the sights and sounds of New York City for the first time. The background music is The Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic," which not only sums up her arrival in America, but also foreshadows events to come. What follows is a magical and uplifting tale that boosts the human spirit and proves that small miracles do exist.

Written and directed by Jim Sheridan, and based on his own experiences as an Irish immigrant in America, the film chronicles the first year struggles and triumphs of an Irish couple, and their two young daughters. Johnny (Paddy Considine) is out of work and while he struggles to find parts as an actor, his wife Sarah (Samantha Morton) must take a job at a nearby ice cream parlor until she finds employment as a teacher. They must scrounge every penny and sell their car, to pay the rent on their shabby, rundown apartment in a building inhabited mostly by vagrants.

Johnny and Sarah are also struggling with the recent death of their youngest child, Frankie. It's presumed that their move to America was meant as an escape to the tragedy back in Ireland; yet, even with the change in scenery, neither parent is completely able to shake their overwhelming feelings of guilt. Looking for a means to end the pain, Sarah gets pregnant, and the family meets a neighbor - a Nigerian painter named Mateo (Djimon Hounsou). With no one else to play with, the girls Christy and Ariel (Emma and Sarah Bolger) instantly bond with the gentle giant, and soon the trio is painting and playing throughout the building.

Their friendship with Mateo and the baby inside Sarah's womb continue to grow. Complications with both will arise that furthers the bond between Mateo and the family. They will ultimately be joined together in a final journey of tragedy and triumph that will leave many in tears. I won't give anything away, but as my guest pointed out after the film, certain parts reminded her of themes found in The Green Mile.

In America paints such a strikingly realistic portrait of the struggles this family faces that it could easily represent numerous others with similar circumstances. And though many of us do not share the same life experiences, we easily identify with their strife because the performances by all the central characters feel incredibly real. What's more, Sheridan's masterpiece is told from the perspective of the two young girls - the eldest only ten years old. For children their age, their big brown eyes are remarkably insightful and observant.

Many times films with tender themes such as those raised here overdose on sentimentality to the point where we feel manipulated into emotion. Even though America tugs tightly on our heartstrings, never does it feel like we're thrown into artificial situations where the only way out is to cry. Every scene feels just as genuine as the next, and every situation this young family finds themselves in has purpose and meaning beyond the present.

The only complaint I have is that at times, the film feels longer than its 113-minute running time. Yet, it is a minor complaint in what looks and feels as authentic as a film can get. In the end, In America will have many believing in a little bit of magic.

The DVD includes a large number of deleted scenes, commentary from Sheridan, and a making-of featurette.

In America, we like hot dogs.



In America

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 31st October 2003

Box Office USA: $15.3M

Budget: $15 thousand

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 154 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.