Movie Review: In America

Dennis suggests In America (in Feature Drama).  Sure, the set-up sounds a little treacly (young Irish family sneaks into America as illegal immigrants and tries to make it in New York with a sick momma, two adorable little girls [real life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger], and a dad with a secret), but, in the hands of director Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot) In America maintains its integrity and its hard edges, all the while spinning an incredibly-moving, impeccably-acted tale.  Struggling actor dad (the outstanding Paddy Considine) carries the unbearably-heavy burden of having transplanted his family to the unforgiving city in order to pursue his own, seemingly-impossible, dream, all the while trying to keep their status as ‘illegals’ hidden, cope with his beloved wife’s (the snaggletoothed glory that is Samantha Morton) illness, and, somehow, protect his unbearably-adorable little girls from the harsh realities of it all.  Along the way, they befriend their mysterious downstairs neighbor, an artist named Mateo who can often be heard screaming behind his locked door, and who has his own secrets.  Narrated by the eldest girl, In America somehow escapes preciousness (usually), and is full of great set pieces (the unbelievably harrowing carnival scene, where the family wagers everything they have on the dad’s skill, Considine’s Sisyphean attempts to purchase, carry, and install an illegal [and enormous] air conditioner in the family’s apartment), and little character touches that keep the story on this side of cloying.  Considine and Morton are especially great at staying real and present.  And while Honsou (a powerful character actor) got an Oscar nomination for playing yet another variation on the ‘magical negro’ archetype, with his mysterious black man seemingly only existing to help out the (white) main characters, he’s still very good in the role.

Hello, little white girl. May I sacrifice myself for you and your white family? Thank you...

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Published in: on July 5, 2009 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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