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

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

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.