Angela’s Ashes (1999)
In a radical change of gears, director Alan Parker (who last made the musical “Evita”) went to Ireland to film Frank McCourt’s touching best-selling memoir about his poor family, abused by an alcoholic father (The Full Monty’s Robert Carlyle).
Oscar-nominated Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves) plays the long-suffering mother, immobilized by depression but doing her best to give her kids good education. Since Irish economy is booming at present and no dreary village could be found, Parker and his crew had to construct a grimy street in the town of Limerick as authentic replica to McCourt’s childhood.
Unfortunately, despite eager anticipation, “Angela’s Ashes” is a disappointing film on many levels. Though meticulous in detail and unsentimental in tone, the film fails to convey McCourt’s witty, wry, self-deprecating words on screen.
Tedious and overly long, the film is replete with grim imagery of dying babies, wet and dirty streets, bug-infested apartments, and ragged children starving for food.
But the characterizations are weak and the voice over narration makes the tale even less engaging.
You can’t blame the talented actors, though. Joe Breen plays McCourt as a child, Ciaran Owens as an adolescent, and Michael Legge as a teenager.
Oscar Nominations: 1
Score: John Williams
Oscar Awards: None
Angela McCourt (Emily Watson)
Malachy McCourt (Robert Carlyle)
Young Frank (Joe Breen)
Middle Frank (Ciaran Owens)
Older Frank (Michael Legge)
Grandma Sheehan 9Ronnie Masterson)
Aunt Aggie (Pauline McLynn)
Uncle Pa Keating (Liam Carney)
Uncle Pat (Eanna MacLiam)
Narrator: Andrew Bennett
Produced by David Brown, Scott Rudin, and Alan parker
Directed by Alan Parker
Screenplay: Laura Jones and Alan Parker, based on the book “Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
Camera: Michael Seresin
Editor: Gerry Hambling
Production design: Geoffrey Kirkland
Art design: Jonathan McKinstry
Costume: Consalata Boyle
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