Projections - Movie Reviews

In America
In America
Starring Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine, Djimon Hounsou,
Juan Hernandez, Nye Heron, Rene Millian

Jim Sheridan's personal and touching immigrant drama, In America, shouldn't just be seen in art house cinemas. It has documentary look to it as a family starts their life anew. Among a very capable cast, American audiences will recognize Samantha Morton Minority Report and Djimon Hounsou Amistad, & Gladiator but probably no other.

The memory of a child's death is a key fulcrum that Sheridan My Left Foot, uses quite well as a family's life is felt like an adventure. The setting is the 70's and Loving Spoonful's "Do You Believe In Magic" is heard on the radio. A sense of wonder fills the eyes of two children, Christy and Aerial. This Irish family warms to Manhattan with its peculiar, exotic aura.

The father, Johnny (Paddy Considine), is trying to find work in acting and Morton's Sarah finds a job as a waitress. The girls attend a Catholic school. They share a special bond as they experience a deep financial strain in Hell's Kitchen, as one notices a longing for an intimacy felt in their native land.

Sheridan nicely contrasts a ghetto section and the apartment which Sarah tries to bring a wondrous glow. Her daughters have a fearless attitude about their new environment which has an ominous, austere texture to it. The designer and lenser help provide a kind of magic realism as one girl states, "it was like we were in another planet."

The screenplay by Sheridan and his two daughters, Kirsten and Naomi, has an innocent, enriching flavor to it that works cogently off of love, hope, and personal hardship. Even Frank McCourt would admire an eloquence that can be uplifting in such an honest way. As a hot summer in the city isn't good for Johnny who toils as a cabbie, Aerial and Christy become friendly with Hounsou's "screaming man," a black artist who has an antipathy for life. They are quite influenced by this imposing, odd man.

Morton and Considine act their roles with much conviction and have a presence that goes very well with their close daughters. How Sheridan uses what hits a family at their very heart is done with remarkable presence and humanity. Truth really comes from the heart In America.

In America


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