Evelyn

"Extraordinary"

Evelyn Review


I chuckled when I noticed that my preview screening for Evelyn was shown in a theater next to another theater featuring Die Another Day. At first I thought the theater was doing a tribute to Pierce Brosnan, but then I realized it was just a coincidence that he was starring in two movies at the same time in the same theater. I feared my view of Brosnan in Evelyn would be tainted because of his typecasting as the suave British spy. Much to my delight however, Brosnan effectively sheds his powerful alter-ego and turns in a warm and touching performance as an average, Irish working-class bloke in Evelyn.

Based on a true story that took place in the 1950s, Brosnan plays Desmond Doyle, a father of three young children who is left to care for the kids when his wife leaves him for another man the day after Christmas. This happens to coincide with another unsettling loss for Doyle - he's recently lost his job. Since he is unable to find work, the courts have taken his two sons and only daughter Evelyn (Sophie Vavasseur) and placed them in church run orphanages. When he finds suitable employment and tries to re-unite with his children, he finds his troubles have only just begun.

While in the orphanages, the children are forced to comply with the church's strict rules or face physical beatings. Evelyn is slapped repeatedly by a nun for protesting the beating of one of her classmates. Doyle is outraged by the treatment of his children, but because of a silly law (Children's Act of 1941), he must obtain his wife's consent to release the children from the church. Unfortunately, Doyle's wife is nowhere to be found! After soaking his sorrows in countless pints of Guinness, he finds the courage to fight back. He enlists the help of a barmaid named Bernadette (Julianna Margulies), who provides inspiration for Doyle to kick his drinking habit and improve his image. He also hires two attorneys (Stephen Rea and Aidan Quinn) to represent his case in court.

Evelyn is a heartwarming and inspirational journey that follows likable people who are forced to dig deep into themselves to find the strength to deal with the difficulties life deals them. The film heavily stacks the deck against Doyle by giving him numerous reasons to lose hope, but it never reaches the uncomfortable point where we feel overly manipulated by plot machinations. Though Evelyn is a little too sentimental at times, the film avoids the formulaic pitfalls of similar movies and is really quite enjoyable.

Bruce Beresford, who directed Oscar winners Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy, returns to award-worthy form with Evelyn. His film has the look and feel of the time period by accurately portraying the dramatic divisions between the Catholic Church and the Irish State. Beresford also gives us many lighthearted moments that offer balance to a movie that often pulls at our heartstrings. He elicits many laughs by contrasting the dynamics of television news reporting and a radio news reporter's desire to outlast and out-report those on television.

Brosnan's work is Oscar worthy, and Vavasseur is a true inspiration as the little Evelyn. Someone her age could have easily lost hope in such dreadful circumstances, but instead she grabs onto what little she has inside the wretched orphanage and shows more courage under fire than most adults. The courtroom scene, where she confronts the atrocities of the orphanage and challenges the Irish Supreme Court to make the correct decision, is one of the most moving moments in the film. In fact, it's hard not to be moved by this film. Cliché or no, Evelyn is the feel good movie of the year.

The sun'll come out tomorrow.



Evelyn

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st March 2003

Box Office USA: $1.3M

Distributed by: MGM/UA

Production compaines: CineEvelyn

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 73 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Beau St. Clair,

Starring: as Desmond Doyle, as Evelyn Doyle, as Nick Barron, as Bernadette Beattie, as Michael Beattie, as Thomas Connolly

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.