Angela's Ashes

"Weak"

Angela's Ashes Review


Cigarettes.

The title: Angela's Ashes refers to cigarettes and not cremation. If someone had told me this before I had entered the film, I might have enjoyed it more than I did. Then again, if someone had told me about the rest of the film, I might have asked for a final cigarette before going in to Angela's Ashes.

Such is the price of not reading your press packet.

Angela's Ashes is Alan Parker's adaptation of Frank McCourt's Pulitzer-Prize-Winning book. Like most Pulitzer-Prize-winners and their film adaptations, the adjective "long" is a good way to describe the movie. Despite having a shorter time than the three-hour Magnolia (Angela's Ashes clocks in at two-and-a-half), Angela's Ashes feels much more drawn out.

Angela's Ashes, unlike most films that never have a resolution, does not feel like it is going nowhere fast. It feels like it is going nowhere very slowly. Coming out of the theatre, that is the basic impression that I lifted off of the film. In the beginning, McCourt claims that "Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the Irish miserable childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." The rest of the movie attempts to drill in this point.

While it is drilling in this point, the film also attempts to tackle (but never knocks down) such issues as prostitution, alcoholism, and the Catholic Church. I saw it, in fact, at a special screening for critics and Catholic clergy. The film takes on classically Irish and local topics, and has its actors adopt a thick Irish accent (as if Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle didn't have thick enough accents already). The script is thick with colloquialisms.

Despite a wonderful managing of the struggles of making an American film about the Irish, the film does a terrible mismanaging of its plot. The film is very unfocused, jumping from topic to topic and never having a resolution along any lines that the film accentuates.

To its strong credit, I found that Angela's Ashes is able to push my emotional buttons. This is not to say I liked the film. It is to say that Emily Watson delivers an outstanding performance, Robert Carlyle does his usual work (that is, an exceptional job), and Michael Legee plays Frank McCourt to a tear-jerking (almost) T. John Williams helps everyone out with a score that, devoid of which, the film could not have survived. Also, a degree of religious humor helps the film's pacing.

I must admit that this is a film that I believe only Irish Catholics can enjoy. It is so regional and so tied in with Catholicism that it shuns the outsider. Since I am neither Irish nor Catholic I wouldn't really know, but the Irish Catholic audience seemed to enjoy it, and since the film has little else to its credit, that has to be the explanation.

It has to be, because without local support and acting and music, the film can't stand on its own two emaciated legs.

Bless me father for I have sinned.



Angela's Ashes

Facts and Figures

Run time: 145 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st January 2000

Box Office Worldwide: 13

Budget: 25

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Angela McCourt, as Malachy McCourt, as Young Frank, as Older Frank, as Middle Frank, J.J. Murphy as St. Vincent Man #2

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.