The most celebrated child custody battle in Irish history is the subject of "Evelyn," a moving but uninspired feel-good drama in which Pierce Brosnan stretches his anti-Bond acting muscles as a struggling carpenter and painter desperately fighting church and state to get his three button-cute kids out of foster care.

It seems that when the wife of Brosnan's real-life character Desmond Doyle swiped their bankbook from the coffee tin in their row-house kitchen in 1953 then disappeared with another man, the enforcers of family law ("a cozy conspiracy between the Catholic church and the Irish state") decided a single father without steady work made an unfit parent.

As the opening act of the movie unfolds, Doyle's beloved young children -- two boys and a sweet little girl whose name begot the film's title -- are dragged off to strict orphanage schools run by tyrannical nuns. Meanwhile, Brosnan kicks his character's tires, struggling for several scenes to get a bead on the guy as he looks for work, resolves to stay sober and takes on the Goliath system.

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