D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
In America, 2002.
Directed by Jim Sheridan.
Starring Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton and Djimon Hounsou.
In America is the beautiful story of an Irish family who enter America on a tourist visa, but plan to settle and make New York City their home as they search for a new life and try to overcome their grief of losing their son, Frankie. Johnny Sullivan (Considine) is a struggling actor looking for work, but unable to show emotion after the death of Frankie. His wife Sarah (Morton) takes a job in the local ice cream parlor to support the family and along with their two daughters Ariel (Emma Bolger) and Christy (Sarah Bolger) they move into a run down apartment in Hell’s Kitchen.
As the family experience life in New York they all carry the loss of Frankie as a burden and when accompanied with poverty and searing summer heat tensions build and the family struggles. Sarah and the girls befriend a reclusive African artist named Mateo (Hounsou) who lives in their building, despite Johnny’s reservations. As the family build a bond with Mateo they become aware that he is HIV positive and his health is deteriorating. When Mateo falls down the stairs and is knocked unconscious Sarah gives him mouth to mouth in an effort to save him despite the other tenants advising her otherwise.
Tension between Johnny and Sarah is heightened by Sarah becoming pregnant. When the baby is born prematurely and needs a blood transfusion the hospital bills sky rocket and the family fear for the worst. Unwilling to give the baby a hospital blood transfusion, as that was the cause of Mateo’s illness, the baby struggles until it’s realised that Christy is compatible and donates her blood. Whilst the family struggle with their new born baby Mateo takes a turn for the worst and doesn’t have long left. Unknown to them Mateo pays their hospital bills before he passes and the family names the baby after Mateo’s middle name. When the family gets the baby home they celebrate and come together as one with Johnny finally being able to come to terms with the death of Frankie.
In America is such a beautiful and touching story of life, loss and grief. The semi-autobiographical film echoes director Jim Sheridan’s life after losing his brother Frankie at aged 10. Christy and Ariel are based on his own daughters also and they assisted in the writing of the Oscar nominated screenplay. Paddy Considine is at his very best, but Samantha Morton and Djimon Hounsou are even better with their own Oscar nominated performances. Every person in this film is perfect for their role and will touch your heart from start to finish.
In America has so many sweet, heart wrenching and teary moments and is a film you must see before you die because of that. I have seen this film about ten times and every single time I have to struggle to choke back tears. For anyone who has lost someone close they will empathise with the Sullivan family and have their heartstrings pulled over and over again. In America is one of the most beautiful stories ever told on film.