“When I look back on my childhood, I wonder how my brothers and I managed to survive at all” is the first line of Angela’s Ashes. As people look back on this film they too will wonder how they ever survived. The movie’s biggest flaw is that the two and a half hour duration goes at the rate of a Leslie Nielson death scene. Misery does love company and this examination of Irish misery finds plenty of company so as not to leave this one aching flaw alone.
Must know just how uninteresting it is, even movies apk make a bad review for them. There is no other explanation for what transpires in the first 30 minutes: three children die; the filmmakers resort to this oldest, most melodramatic technique not once, but three times. Then, as if the movie realizes that there are only so many characters who can pass away, the work ventures away from the morbid and tries to find a plot. But there is none to be found; so the deaths resume, just at a slower rate. Filling the now-longer gaps is Hollywood’s second oldest emotional stunt: The Alcoholic Father.
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Despite being absent a plot, Angelas Ashes does have a setting: Ireland during a time when students could openly ponder “What use is Euclid when the Germans are bombing everything in sight?” The production centers around a young boy and his family. The mother, Angela (Emily Watson who is far too plump for this poverty-stricken role), has no qualms with picking coals off the street to warm her often-sick family members. The father, Malachy (Robert Carlyle who’s acting is quite possibly the only good part of the movie, even if it is just a reprisal of his role in the acclaimed The Full Monty) thinks otherwise, insisting “We’re not beggars” and scolding “You have no pride, Angela.” In reality, he is the one without pride who begs for money not to cloth his family but to provide the almighty “pint.” On one occasion the narrator, Frank, comments of his father “A man who drinks the money for a new baby has gone beyond the beyonds.” Get the picture? Good. That was 140 minutes in one paragraph. (And my editor says I’m not concise enough!)
Those not familiar with the IRA, Oedipus and “The Consumption” might struggle with what little this highbrow film has to offer. Those who prefer popcorn during their trips to the cinema might struggle with a guilt trip. Those fans of Monet might struggle to have any appreciation for a re-occurring scenery shot clearly ripped out of one of his paintings. Those of the non-anarchist persuasion might struggle with the film’s anti-debt moral. Those with limited or even normal attention spans will struggle with the movie’s length. Those that enjoy good films will struggle with the overall lack of quality. These struggles are not nearly as bad as the poverty depicted in Angela’s Ashes, but there still is no reason to voluntarily subject yourself to them, much less pay for them.