In America Jim Sheridan

In America Jim Sheridan
The opening scene of Jim Sheridan's In America features an emigrating Irish family in a station wagon desperately waiting at the Canadian border to enter the haven that is America. For Canadians, it's a little puzzling to see this family so frantic to leave our country and enter Bush-land, but avoiding Canada is a good idea for the title and story's sake. In America is a wonderful movie that works nicely as a modern-day companion to Angela's Ashes. The story is loosely based on Sheridan's own life, written by him and his two daughters. Set in New York, the Sullivan family arrives aflutter to the bright lights of the big city, "oohing" and finger pointing to the sounds of the Loving Spoonful's "Do You Believe In Magic?" Seconds later, they end up in Hell's Kitchen, where they situate themselves in a building full of junkies. From there on in, Sarah and Johnny, played by Samantha Morton (Morvern Callar) and Paddy Considine (24 Hour Party People), face many obstacles in providing a good life for their two daughters (played by real life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger) after the death of their son back in Ireland. The Sullivans find an unlikely friend in Mateo (Djimon Hounsou), a dying painter downstairs, who breathes fresh air into their struggle to survive. While the Oscar-nominated Morton doesn't steal the show, as she normally does, Considine's wounded father and Hounsou's Oscar-nominated role make the most impact, especially when they are on screen together. The DVD extras include a charming "making of" featurette that shows the capacity of the two lively young stars, nine quality deleted scenes, including a near-death result during Johnny's fight with a junkie, and an endearing alternate ending. This moving story about improving the standard of living would have lost some of its charm had it been named In Canada and was set in the ghetto of, say, Scarborough. Plus: Commentary by Sheridan. (Fox)