Angela's Ashes Reviews
Frank McCourt at a young age heads the opposite direction from most young Irish boys, from America back to the poor streets of Ireland. He has 3 brothers and a sister that dies at a young age. His father struggles to find a job and eventually heads out of Ireland to find a better opportunity and never returns leaving the mother desperate as she tries to raise her boys.
"I said no wanking."
Alan Parker, director of Angel Heart, Evita, Mississippi Burning, Shoot the Moon, Fame, Pink Floyd the Wall, and The Commitments, delivers Angela's Ashes. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and tells a fascinating tale. I adored the characters and settings. The cast delivers excellent performances and includes Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Michael Legge, and Devon Murray.
"Surely our troubles would be over. Surely."
This was recommended to me on Netflix so I decided to give it a shot. I thought it was well done and entertaining. The story is very compelling and well paced and I thought the acting and presentation was perfect. I recommend giving this a viewing.
"He went for cigarettes."
Based on Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, the movie details the childhood years of Frank McCourt in Ireland. Hardly the childhood anyone would wish for: abject poverty, three siblings die, father is unemployed and an alcoholic.
Shows the conditions some people were, and are, forced to live in. Is pretty much a roller-coaster of misery. Every positive event is followed by a negative one. Very sad.
Yet, between these harrowing episodes there's levity and some quite funny moments. If there wasn't, it would probably be too depressing to handle.
Most importantly, you empathise with the characters and share in their ups and downs, as all good dramas should cause you to do.
On the negative side, the ending feels a bit rushed and incomplete. But then again, the ultimate ending would show the rest of McCourt's life and how it turned out. That would be whole new movie... It certainly was a whole new book, as McCourt wrote a sequel to Angela's Ashes, "'Tis: A Memoir". This has, as yet, not been made into a movie.
Its a marvelous movie that depicts the real life events that happens to ordinary people.
I like this film for its hard-hitting depiction of poverty and how it immerses you completely into Irish life at the time while still making you laugh with its subtle humour. The laughing part seems to be what others didn't get- again, I can't compare to the novel, but I thought this film got the tone just right and I let out some hearty chuckles between the moments when something depressing wasn't happening. I think there's a real charm here and more than enough to connect with the characters and even to feel close to the gloomy landscapes of Limerick.
Sure, its a long movie and very depressing- it also feels determined to include things that may not be interesting solely to be faithful to the source material. I can only assume, given the mass amount of criticism, that it does indeed miss the spot with McCourt's humour but I'm rating this as a stand alone film and I found it funny enough, certainly for a serious drama anyway.
Its not the best drama you'll ever see, nor is it Parker's best work but its decent and far from Parker's worst. The performances are great- Watson in particular, and its gritty realism is so distinct and unsentimental that you never for a second feel that the film is artificial or contrived.
There's glimmers of hope in the darkness here, and sure, it takes 2 and a half hours to get through it all but, much like the streets of Limerick, you have to climb through some mud in the rain to get to where you want to be. This film puts us there for it all and I felt connected from the get go.
Its visually spot-on, the performances are all of the highest order, the script is full of charm and humour and the story being told is movie-worthy any day of the week. Its not a perfect film and will require some pushing to get through and in the end it may feel lacking but I don't think its lacking a heart. Indeed, maybe too cautious in avoiding sentimentality but why should such things be forced upon us? If we look at the film as a whole we have an Oscar-nominated score that is filled with haunted nostalgia and is some of John William's best work and we get to see a character develop in a close up and ultimately unique way from childhood to mid-teens.
Sure, its not great at conveying its emotions, unless it wants to depress us of course, and it certainly, understandably, has a rep for being punishing in that sense but you really don't have to dig deep to find the hope in this one, at least I didn't anyway, it may make you work for it but it is there.
Whether you think this film works or not, and the jury will always be out it seems, it is certainly unique and for me its also memorable. Its suffered a lot from being a film version of the memoirs but move aside from that for a minute and view it solely as a film about poverty or a film about Ireland or a film about Catholicism, a film about growing up- I don't know if it really tells me anything about Frank McCourt but it tells me a lot about those things. Sure, next time I see this on the TV listings I may not be in a rush to jump back to it but when the mood is right and I want to be moved, it gives me something, and with the patience, its worthwhile.