Combustible Celluloid

In America (2003)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Immigrant Song

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy In America on DVD.

An Irish family arrives in New York City (by car!) and tries to make a go of it in the Land of Opportunity. Director Jim Sheridan tells the tale from the point of view of the family's 11 year-old daughter (Sarah Bolger), and presents the film in "magic realism." The problem is that it comes across less as childlike and more as a parade of saccharine cliches. Even the noble and mysterious African artist (Djimon Hounsou) who lives in their building can't contribute any actual humanity to the mix. The film jumps from scenes of frolicking and happiness to scenes of tragedy -- everyone seems to be either dying or half-dead. Paddy Considine plays the wannabe actor father, the wondrous Samantha Morton is wasted in the role of the mother, but sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger turn in remarkable, heartbreaking performances as the two daughters. Sheridan co-wrote the original screenplay with his own two daughters, Naomi and Kirsten Sheridan.

Starring: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Sarah Bolger, Emma Bolger, Djimon Hounsou
Written by: Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan
Directed by: Jim Sheridan
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality, drug references, brief violence and language
Running Time: 105 minutes
Date: November 26, 2003

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