Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens, Michael Legge
Director: Alan Parker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Angela's Ashes [DVD] (2000) Emily Watson; Robert Carlyle; Joe Breen; Liam Carney
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Glimpse of a different world
Ted Byrd | 07/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are controversies around this film, which I discovered with a little web research after viewing it. This web search is something I try to do routinely after watching movies with an ideological or cultural bias. Movies, with their strong suggestive power, I think, leave us vulnerable to subliminally accepting the worldview of the director if he spins a good tale, so getting other perspectives is a reality check.
As might be expected, some of the most negative critics, including actor Richard Harris, are or were residents of Limerick, Ireland. It does seem to me that in this story there is a pronounced negative slant against Limerick and its people, at least at the time of Frank McCourt's childhood. McCourt, who authored the book on which the film is based, evidently had many resentments from the rough treatment he received as a child at the hands of Limerick residents, his own family, and Irish Catholicism.
If you buy everything the author and director had to say in their respective versions, you would probably acquire a negative perspective on Limerick and Irish Catholicism. My point is, that I don't believe we should form those types of opinions based on emotionally charged films.
However, I based my four-star rating on my impressions of the movie before doing any research. I was immediately drawn in to this depiction of a world so vastly different from my own. It seemed to me there were many symbolic truths to this story, whether it was a literal depiction of McCourt's childhood or not.
The extreme, oppressive despair brought on by poverty and discrimination is universal and could be set anywhere those conditions exist. Whether or not this story is completely factual, I felt it generated a powerful and convincing feeling of authenticity, consistent with itself in its depiction of the way in which extreme need and lack of opportunities destroy the basic humanity of people; some by losing their self-respect, others by becoming mean-spirited and callous.
The portrayal of the alcoholic father whose behavior intensifies the destitution of the family seems inexcusable. I have to admit that I felt somewhat uncomfortable with the knowledge that these were supposedly true revelations about the author's immediate family. Personally, I can't imagine baring such family matters to the world, even if they were true.
So, while I don't say the movie was enjoyable, I was strongly affected by its imagery, which challenged me to review my own perceptions of life. I thought the acting, particularly of the boy who portrayed McCourt at age 5 was outstanding. Visually, the film reinforced its story to the nth degree. It was this feeling that the film touched on deep human issues in a plausible way that kept me interested while watching it, more than the idea that these were occurrences which happened in a particular time and place. But, of course, the setting does add interest through its depiction of local color(mostly gray)and customs. It is in this area that I don't believe we should rush to judgment."