Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Angela's Ashes Movie Review

I first saw Angela's Ashes when I was a little kid about the same age as Frank in the beginning of the movie. Seeing it at such an early age had a profound effect on my outlook on life. Recently re-watching it as a 21-year old was like reliving an old dream. I couldn't believe I was having the same thoughts and feelings as I did so many years before. I'm not familiar with the book, but watching this film is like an endurance run for your emotions. There are so many devastating moments that by the end, you'd think you'd be numb to it, but there always seems to be another heart-wrenching moment around the corner. Some of the images in this movie have stuck with me for life.

Angela's Ashes put my life into perspective at an early age. I was emotionally invested in the characters, and through their struggles I learned a lot about life. All I could think was how lucky I was that all my family members are alive and we have a roof over our heads. Its easy to take those things for granted, and this movie does a good job of making you appreciate them a whole lot more.

The production value of Angela's Ashes is top-notch. The film does an extraordinary job of taking the viewer on a journey back in time to Limerick, Ireland in the early 40's. It was a time of great hardship, especially for Frank McCourt's family, who suffer greatly throughout the film. I personally love the imagery of old Ireland with its rustic stone structures and foggy weather. The settings are accurate and well-detailed, contributing greatly to the overall realism of the film. The tone of the film is very dark, gray, and mundane, and that dark tone is reflected in the bleak color palette. There are very few vibrant colors to be found, only gray, black and the occasional green. It truly succeeds in painting a bleak portrait of the McCourts life.

The actors in the film are mostly very good. Of course when dealing with child actors you always have to consider the fact that they're, well, children. So there's only so much they can do in a heavily dramatic film like this that requires some serious acting chops to pull off. I think the child actors do a good job in their roles, especially the little kid who plays Frank in the beginning. Like I said earlier, I really identified with his character as a kid, so that makes a good performance in my book.

For some reason this film slipped under the radar both critically and commercially. It was overshadowed by the book and as a result has been mostly forgotten it seems. It's a shame because this is a seriously dramatic film that is one of the most emotionally effective stories I've ever experienced. The scenery is beautiful, the score is absolutely fantastic, and there are moments that will make you laugh and then cry.

It's definitely a movie worth seeing.

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