Directed by: Jim Sheridan
Premise: An Irish couple (Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton) and their two daughters move to New York City in the early 1980s. There they acclimate to the new culture and befriend Mateo (Dijmon Hounsou), a man dying of AIDS.
What Works: The film breathes new life into the traditional Horatio Alger immigrant story. It presents the story from the perspective of Christy (Sarah Bolger). This gives the film a unique and innocent, but not stupid, point-of-view. The portrayal of Mateo is full of mystery and tragedy but also humanity. The film is filled with varying doses of hope, grief, and humor. The two girls are especially funny in their adventures in New York.
What Doesn’t: The ending of the film is a bit too tidy and solves the family’s financial problems too easily. However, it is a true story of Jim Sheridan’s family and if this is how it happened, then we have to cut the filmmakers some slack.
DVD extras: Commentary track, deleted scenes, alternate ending, featurette.
Bottom Line: In America is a good film with some very strong performances. It gives the audience a peak into the lives of people who travel to this country and the film leaves the audience with a sense of hope about their lives and their community.
Episode: #35 (January 16, 2005)