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Overall Rating

Awesome: 34.62%
Worth A Look42.31%
Just Average: 17.95%
Pretty Crappy: 3.85%
Sucks: 1.28%

6 reviews, 42 user ratings

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In America
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by Elaine Perrone

"In the end, it kicked and dragged me into believing in magic (sort of)."
4 stars

Co-written with his daughters Naomi and Kristin, Jim Sheridan's semi-autobiographical depiction of their emigration to the U.S. from Ireland has a lot going for it. Seen through the eye of camera wizard Declan Quinn and the eyes of a 10-year old emerging from the Holland Tunnel for the first time, Manhattan is resplendent in her glory. The cast, and acting, is likewise splendid, featuring the ethereally beautiful Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine (24 Hour Party People) as grieving parents looking to make a new start with their daughters (real life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger), and Djimon Hounsou as the neighbor who brings magic to their lives. Unfortunately, it is in that "magic" that the movie falters.

On first viewing, I heavily criticized Kristin and Naomi's romanticized depiction of life in a tenement in Harlem, with neighborly crack addicts and transvestites greeting them upon arrival and an ice cream parlor waitress as built-in babysitter. Watching the film again, and trying to see the experience through the eyes of children, it was much easier for me to appreciate their whimsy and ability to make a game of living in such a squalid environment.

Still, there are definite weaknesses in the script, which sports plot holes that, depending upon one's tolerance, can be waved off as A Bit o' the Blarney or condemned as Total Bullshit.

Hounsou is marvelous, and heartbreaking, as their neighbor Mateo, an angry artist dying of AIDS, but he is sadly relegated to an unbelievable subplot straight out of The Shining. It is at the core of this subplot's mysticism that the biggest weaknesses in the screenplay lie.

For all its faults, though, it's impossible to not be won over by the three glorious seasons of NYC (summer being the not-so-glorious one), a loving family beautifully portrayed (with particularly rapturous turns by Samantha Morton and the Bolger sisters) under Jim Sheridan's fine direction, AND a wicked-good soundtrack.

In the end, I'd deem In America well worth a look, but I still wish someone could answer the one burning question it leaves in my mind.

WARNING: Major spoiler ahead

What the HELL is a guy who can pay a $30,000+ hospital bill in cash, and who meets his death in obviously comfortable hospice care, doing living in a rathole in Harlem?

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6812&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/25/04 15:38:06
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This film is available for download or online viewing at CinemaNow.com For more in the CinemaNow.com series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/08/09 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
9/30/08 Annie G Enjoyable movie that puts a different face on illegal immigrants. 3 stars
9/10/07 louciljohann very touching....heart-warming 4 stars
3/29/06 steve castleberry This is a good movie- The only one I`ve ever felt like rating. 5 stars
6/12/05 Steve Newman Awesome - go see 5 stars
5/26/05 Brendan An absolute classic. One of my Top 5! 5 stars
5/24/05 Diana R I thought this movie was great 5 stars
3/09/05 axefell resiliency of the eager-eyed optimist on display 4 stars
8/08/04 Mike McGilvray A touching, sad film well worth my time. 5 stars
7/18/04 scrambled brain it irritated me to no end 2 stars
7/05/04 Joan Cagney Very moving film - struck at my Irish American heritage 4 stars
6/21/04 Joli Darling Jim Sheridan's search for that which is authentic was more than realized in this film. 5 stars
5/31/04 maggie cloying-sacharine--annoying children 2 stars
5/21/04 Gretchen Ross wonderful, simplistic film that portrays the fragility and beauty of innocence 5 stars
5/17/04 Mike Excellent Film 4 stars
5/06/04 Megan It was totally amazing- it touched my heart and Emma and Sarah Bolger are amazing actress'! 5 stars
3/08/04 mouhamadou aw i need to watch a film online 3 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser Both character and moviegoer grow together in this master artwork. 5 stars
3/06/04 Helen Bradley A really bad film poor script and lousy acting 1 stars
2/28/04 jimmy two times free of stereo types. deals with the working class honestly. great film. 5 stars
2/20/04 john lovely, great cinematography, acting, goings-on etc. 5 stars
2/07/04 Valerie Cameron 2 Oscar nominations for grownups, but the little girls are the real stars. 4 stars
1/14/04 Kate Wonderful, but anxiety-inducing. I found myself waiting for harm around every corner. 5 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Really great Sheridan drama; Morton is outstanding as the mother. 5 stars
1/12/04 skysusan Great film; worth seeing 5 stars
1/09/04 CharlieDams Haunting, unforgettable. Excellent, believable acting. Photography, sets very good 5 stars
1/04/04 Lewis Menacing Black neighbor, a teddy bear in disguise, pays Irish family's big medical bill 2 stars
12/30/03 ownerofdajoint this movie works well on several levels;don't miss it 5 stars
12/27/03 Eleanor Finally, a functionaling family with all the love, and grief, honesty and trust that we lo 5 stars
12/17/03 Gus Touching movie 5 stars
12/10/03 hans lovely, moving film. Sarah Bolger is brilliant 5 stars
11/30/03 elizabeth beautiful film, oscar worthy in the vein of "My Left Foot" or "In The Name of the Father" 5 stars
11/28/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Personal and touching. Pieces don't quite fit perfectly, but close enough. 4 stars
11/21/03 Law Surprising, moving, compelling - great acting 5 stars
11/18/03 Esther Fabulous! Stunning performances and great music! 5 stars
11/15/03 Hal Underwood A great movie - I knew nothing about it before seeing it. 5 stars
11/06/03 Tony Hocking Thought provoking, with a fantastic debut from the little girls. 5 stars
10/26/03 Norm Engel Absolutely marvellous film. Wonderful acting from the lead characters, touches your hear 5 stars
10/23/03 julie dupree beautiful film 5 stars
10/23/03 Dick Briglia Wonderful Surprising Movie 4 stars
10/20/03 Brad Willard Loved this film 5 stars
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  26-Nov-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 11-May-2004



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