Stars: ** 1/2
Rating: PG-13 for language and adult situations
Run Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Jim Sheridan utilizes wily Irish storytelling to craft a personal immigrant tale that virtually begs for a box of Kleenex.
But the American streets are far from paved with gold. Holed up in a grimy tenement, the couple attempts to make their place a home while their girls Christy and Ariel (Sarah and Emma Bolger) turn every setback into a magical American moment.
Johnny takes odd jobs (cab driving, etc.) and Sarah finds work at a local diner. The girls are left on their own to get the lay of the land, enrolling in school and trying to fit in. While Halloween trick-or-treating in their wretched crack-den of an apartment building, the girls are confronted by their reclusive “screaming man” neighbor Mateo (Djimon Hounsou), who unexpectedly becomes the family’s ally as they hurtle towards their next personal crisis.
The real weak link is Hounsou, whose character is frightfully underdeveloped and whose guardian-angel symbolism spills over the dramatic margins into the absurd. Considine and Morton are convincingly discouraged by their perpetual emotional collisions, with Morton exuding a mother’s loss and an indefinable need. The Bolger sisters are spirited knock-outs, cute as buttons and sprinkled with youthful pixie dust. Their inherent warmth is enough to tip the scales in the drama’s favor.
yet brimming with aspiration, “