Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
Go Think Big
Helping young people achieve their career dreams
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Samantha Morton
Paddy Considine
Sarah Bolger
Emma Bolger
Djimon Hounsou.
Directors
Jim Sheridan.
Screenwriters
Jim Sheridan
Naomi Sheridan
Kirsten Sheridan.
Running Time
105 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Fury
3 Star Empire Rating
Way He Looks, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Serena
2 Star Empire Rating
Book Of Life, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Björk: Biophilia Live
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating

In America
A child's-eye view of her family's emigration to rougher parts of New York after her brother's death.


submit to reddit


Plot
Ten year-old Christy moves to America with her family after the death of her brother, Frankie. They start their new life in a run-down New York apartment block, populated by 'junkies and prostitutes', and soon meet a mysterious painter, Mateo, whose friendship will change their lives.


Review
Jim Sheridan's In America received standing ovations at its Toronto, Sundance and Edinburgh Film Festival screenings. Often it's hard to see why films like this have been so hyped at festivals, but Sheridan's semi-autobiographical tale is an exception.

Loosely based on his experiences of moving to America to set up the Irish Arts Theatre, the masterstroke here is to tell the story from his daughters' viewpoint (both of whom helped with the screenplay). What could have been a self-indulgent exercise becomes a deep exploration of grief in the younger generation, made more poignant by the astounding quality of the two real-life sisters cast in these roles. Sarah Bolger, in particular, has a maturity and depth not seen in a young actor since Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense.

Of course, this child's view does add a sentimental tone to the script, and there are scenes involving loner artist Mateo's growing affection for the family which could have the less saccharine-inclined reaching for the vomit bags. While Djimon Hounsou isn't bad, his role is the one jarring note in the film. Paddy Considine emerges as a real presence as the roguish father, while Samantha Morton's ethereal nature perfectly suits a mother torn between grieving for her son and rejoining her remaining family.

The original title for the film was East Of Harlem, so it's no surprise that the other most obvious presence is the New York slums. The movie is effused with affection for this area, and what could have been a depressing setting transforms into a fairy-tale backdrop as the seasons change. Snow falls into comforting blankets and heat seems to condense, steam-like, on the screen. It's these touches to Sheridan's most personal work that lend it a poetic quality and make it a fitting film for him to dedicate to his brother Frankie, who died from a brain tumour aged just ten.


Verdict
Lovingly shot, with a remarkable debut from Sarah Bolger, who along with sister Emma, gives one of the greatest ever child performances.


Reviewed by Emma Cochrane


Related Reviews

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for In America
Empire Star Rating

Glorious

A haunting, beautiful film that glows with heart and truth. Moments of comedy, devastation and joy blend into a film which boasts wonderful performances from all concerned, colourful and loving direction and an honest, affecting script. Simply wonderful ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by killervideotape at 00:58, 10 December 2007 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast #133: Robert Duvall, Anna Faris And James Marsden Interviews
Plus the team discuss the latest news on the upcoming DC and Marvel movies

Documentaries: What Happened Next
We track down and interview the stars of great non-fiction films

Movie Poster Mashups: Sean Bean Edition
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be appalled at the punning...

Your Introductory Guide To That DC Movie Slate
Suicide Squad? Cyborg? Aquaman? We explain who’s who in the DC Universe

Video Interviews: Megan Fox And Will Arnett Talk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Plus the director and producers on the tone of their new turtle flick

Captain America 3, Iron Man And Civil War: Where Next For The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
What to make of today's Marvel news

Interactive Gallery: Explore Iconic Movie Spacesuits
Explore the fabric of space-time

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)