In America
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
in america Director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) brings a raw, authentic feel to this film that completely disarms us, and makes it much more than the run-of-the-mill immigrant drama. As the film opens, Sarah and Johnny (Morton and Considine) drive across the Canadian border into the USA with their two precocious daughters (Sarah Bolger as the 10-year-old narrator of the story; with Emma as her sparky younger sister). Life in Manhattan isn't terribly easy as neither Sarah nor Johnny can get work in their respective fields; Sarah waits tables instead of teaching and Johnny drives a cab while preparing for acting auditions. Their life is a series of small adventures, both comic and terrifying. But the real challenge is to deal with their past.

This is completely naturalistic filmmaking--unaffected performances and a gently meandering storyline that never gives us a clue where it's heading next. We wonder about the big scary man (the terrific Hounsou) living downstairs in the junkie apartment building. We worry about life on the mean streets of New York City. It's very realistic and gritty, but also extremely funny and heartwarming, centring on deeply personal issues of loneliness and frustration rather that major plot points. Performances are superb; the Bolger sisters are fantastic, and could easily be the progeny of Considine and Morton, who make their characters so honest that we travel this emotional journey right with them. There are a few obvious and preachy moments, and all the circle of life/multi-cultural melting pot stuff is rather contrived. But for a story about normal, everyday life (and death), this is an extraordinary film, really.

cert 12 themes, language, adult situations 28.Apr.03

dir Jim Sheridan
scr Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan
with Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine, Sarah Bolger, Emma Bolger, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Sean Tighe, Adrian Martinez, Bernadette Quigley, Randall Carlton, Neal Jones
release UK 31.Oct.03; US 26.Nov.03
03/Ireland 1h43

A new life. Johnny and Sarah (Considine and Morton) bring their kids to New York to start again ... and to escape their past.

morton considine hounsou
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... in america Ben Moriarty, net: 5 out of 5 stars "Just that right amount of magic! Brilliant! Paddy Considine & the two children really make this movie a very worthwhile evening at the cinema. I think we will be seeing a lot more these kids in the future. I look forward to it!" (4.Nov.03)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall