Wednesday, November 03, 2004

In America

Originally written: 4/24/04

Jim Sheridan wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical film, and the intimacy with which he knows his subject makes this one of the best works of 2002. The film tells the story of a family struggling to move forward, emotionally and physically, after the death of a child, and their attempt to do so in a land of promise and possibility--the promise of fulfilled dreams and the possibility of an emotional catharsis following their family tragedy.

Chronicled through the eyes of the family's daughter--the film begins through the viewfinder her camcorder and is narrated by her as well--the immigrant's story is told from a unique point of view which captures both the charming naïveté and startling wisdom of children. The two child actors are actually sisters, and their presence on screen gives the film the levity it needs as it handles some heavy topics. The girls are fabulous together.

This is a tremendous effort, and while American-born viewers are easily cynical, the film is powerful in its portrayal of America as a land of extraordinary promise and resilient spirit.