C I N E M A MA

RAINY DAY EVERYDAY: Brothers Frankie and Malachy McCourt run through the muddy streets of Limerick.

Parker s Ashes Are A Bit Too Dark
The story of Frank McCourt is told with excellence, but left without heart.
STARRING: Emily Watson, Robert Carylyle, and Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens, and Michael Legge DIRECTOR: Alan Parker OPENED: Dec. 25 1999 in N.Y.C. and L.A.; wide in Jan. 2000

It s typical tragedy for a book to be ruined by the
movie it inspires. Quite often I am hesitant to watch the film for fear of being appalled by the lack of faithfulness to the book which was definitely the case when I first gained knowledge of the movie Angela s Ashes.

Frank McCourt did an excellent job writing a sob story about his miserable Irish Catholic childhood and convincing the readers to pity him. How could a movie possibly portray all the aspects of his book? In 1999, Director Alan Parker attempted to bring McCourt s story to life. I was pleasantly surprised with what he had to offer.

TIME, December 4, 2008

C I N E M A MA
The movie is about a young boy who moves back to Ireland with his family because they cannot afford to stay in America. The story follows young Frank McCourt throughout his miserable years in Limerick. His mother, Angela suffers through the loss of her daughter and two of her sons and struggles with keeping her other children alive, fed, and clothed. Frankie s father, Malachy is a drunk who is unable to provide for his family because he spends every penny he earns on the bottle. Parker could not have chosen better actors to play the roles of Angela, Malachy, and Frank. Emily Watson is limited in lines, but plays the perfect depressed Irish mother though her actions and expressions. Although not a tough role, Robert Carlyle s drunken role was perfected to a tee by adding humor and a kind of dark happiness to the storyline. Three boys were chosen for the role of Frank McCourt, the little boy (Joe Breen), the adolescent (Ciaran Owens), and the young adult (Michael Legge). The boys imitated McCourt s filthy and pitiful childhood without flaw. The movie itself however, does not remain without flaw. Following closely along the book and avoiding stray, Parker forgot to include one key aspect, the heart. The book is narrated by a young version of Frank McCourt, whereas the movie is narrated by an older Frank who is looking back on his past. A child telling the story involves heart and passion because it is real and it is happening right now. The memory of an older man is just that, a memory. The movie is left without that sense of heart that makes everyone warm up to and pity the characters. Without that heart and soul, Parker s creation is too dark and dreary. Not too mention wet. The amount of rain Parker uses in the film is enormously unappropriate. The audience understood that it rained a lot in Limerick after seeing the first 15 minutes of the movie. The additional puddles does nothing good for the movie and only threatens the level of tourism to Limerick. Although the movie is missing an important part, it still acts as a good review of the book.
BACK TO LIMERICK: Angela (Watson) and Malachy (Carlyle) struggle to provide for their family.

The movie brings to life pictures that before, readers could only make up in their heads. Thestone wallsand muddy grounds of Limerick re portrayed brilliantly by Parker as well as the ways of Limerick in the 30s and 40s. With the book being one hard to reproduce, it wasn t easy for Parker to take the viewer inside the pages of the book, but he does and he brings McCourt s world to life.
-By Kassi Musick

TIME, December 4, 2008

C I N E M A MA

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful