Idol Chatter

As we all set out to celebrate the 4th of July this weekend (and even though I have recommended several excellent Fourth of July films already), I decided it was time to dig back into my film archives and pull out one of my favorite movies of the last decade. “In America” stands alone as a delicate , haunting tapestry of emotions including grief, hope, faith, and suffering. The film is loosely based on director Jim Sheridan’s real-life experiences raising his Irish Catholic immigrant family in New York in the 80s. He translates the joy and wonder as well as the fear and pain involved in starting over in a way that is unforgettable.

Johnny and Sarah are a young Irish couple who immigrate -illegally- to America with their two daughters after a tragic death in the family. They move to New York City where Johnny can drive cabs and audition for plays while Sarah works as a waitress. When Sarah becomes pregnant again, it tests the faith of all of the family members, but it also brings healing.
I find so much to love in this film every time I have watched it, I almost don’t know where to begin.. There are fantastic performances from Oscar nominee Samantha Morton as Sarah and Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou as an angry artist living with AIDS who is the family’s neighbor. There are hauntingly memorable scenes like the one daughter singing “Desperado” at the school talent show and the scene where the Dad tries to win an E.T. doll for his youngest daughter while at a local carnival.
Most of all, this movie celebrates marriage, childlike faith, and community in an authentic way that is just too hard to come by at the movies. So if you haven’t seen this movie, there is no better time of year than now, and if you have seen it, reviisit it, because I bet you take away something new from it.

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