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Angela’s Ashes

Starring: Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen, and Ciaren Owens

Directed By: Alan Parker

Buy It

Frank McCourt’s best selling autobiography has been made into one hell of a film.

Young Frankie McCourt survived er, um, lived his horrific childhood on ‘the lane', a sleazy poor neighborhood of a well divided town of haves and have nots in Limerick, Ireland. In the early 40’s Limerick was a wee bit like Hades-only it rains less in hell. Besides being the type of place serial killers are bred, the fine Catholic folks here hate. They hate the Protestants (the worst thing you could be).They hate the Northern Irelanders (who are mostly Protestants). And they have an uber hate, genetically transferred through sperm I believe, for the British. Ah, yes, good old fashioned hate for everyone but the savior Jesus and I think St Francis. Sounds like a nice healthy place to grow up no? Frank's dad was a northerner who worked for the British, and I'm betting he was Protestant.

Well, this gives you an idea of the tone of the film. Sad. Actually sad is a light, airy, friendly word when used as an adjective to describe this poor bastard’s childhood. They should show this film to classes in 5th or 6th grade who think life sucks when the Pokemon creature gets away in level six of their GameBoy. They’d be thanking their blue stars and green clovers they’re in this country I tell you.

Frank watches, helplessly as his younger sibling pass away from’the damp’ and his father Malachi- a HUGE loser (Robert ‘Give me a fricken break then, The Full Monty was years ago, I won’t be stripping for yea or any of yea, sod off’ Carlyle) spends the families pittance on pints at the pub. Somehow, little Frankela manages to survive, save an inkling of dignity, and escape to America. Sniff. Sounds dull. But, it's riveting and well done.

Now lets talk talented chick babe to the tenth power. Ms. Emily Watson. Em plays Frank's mum, Angela McCourt. You know this woman was one tough lady. She was perpetually pregnant by the toad Malachi, most of whom she lost. Yet, despite the plethora of lost offspring, the lack of food, condoms, warmth, or decent dwelling-you know with fancy stuff like dry floors, she didn't poison the lot of them. Kudos to this shining star who gave Angela the inner strength she must have really possessed. I must say, I kept expecting Angie to kick the drool bucket-you know simply explaining the name-Angela's Ashes...

McCourt’s real life situation was enlightening as to what a human can actually endure and remain relatively normal. Honestly, I would have blown my wee head off at about five.

Angela’s Ashes is heavy. It’s sad yet beautiful. Check it out on a thoughtful night.

Snack recommendation: Lamb’s head soup and a Harps.



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