America is a melting pot. We all know that from civics class. But hearing about something in a classroom and seeing an immigration story come to life on the silver screen, reinforces the message. In America shows the best and worst of trying to make it in America. It is beautifully acted, magical, sad, and ultimately heartwarming.
Paddy Considine, who you may recognize from 24 Hour Party People or, more likely, Hot Fuzz, stars as a father who brings his wife and daughters to America in the hope of finding work as an actor. Work is hard to come by though and he and Samantha Morton (Woody Allen’s Sweet and Low Down) take menial jobs to hold the family together. Their daughters (played by sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger) scarcely seem to notice the family’s struggles as they invent a world of fun, fairytales, and magic in their decrepit tenement building filled with junkies, artists, and transvestites. The girls befriend the artist Djimon Hounsou who becomes a mentor and confidante to the whole family. Hounsou’s Mateo was so perfectly heartbreaking that he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2004, becoming the first African to be nominated for an Oscar
In America is sentimental without being treacly. There’s a lot of hugging, but it’s so authentic, you don’t mind. The overwhelming feeling you get from the film is simply love. It is clear from the sentiment imbued in every shot that the film is very personal to filmmaker Jim Sheridan. In fact, the story is loosely based on Sheridan’s own family’s immigration to America. Sheridan has explored his Irish roots in his films In the Name of the Father and My Left Foot, but took a more sentimental tact with his immigration story. Sheridan co-wrote In America with his two daughters and dedicated it to his brother who died at the age of ten.
Watch the trailer now and tune in later. You won’t regret it.
In America airs on IFC at 4:30 p.m. ET