Angela’s Ashes – 8/10.

Follows the story of a poor Irish family told through the eyes of a young boy.

Ireland in the 1930’s and 1940’s is portrayed as a very bleak place. It actually feels like George R R Martin was involved in the script writing process such is the rotating list of characters (mostly children) introduced and then killed off. The juxtaposition of constant infanticide coupled with the presence of Father Ted’s Mrs. Doyle is an odd one to handle! Underneath the misery and poverty and possibly the worst patriarch committed to film, there is a lot of hope and positivity to take from Angela’s Ashes. Aforementioned father and head of the family Malachy is a very interesting character but in the hands of an overacting Robert Carlyle, he is not as fully realized as he could have been. Elsewhere Emily Watson is superb as Malachy’s long suffering wife (no Oscar nod surprisingly) and all the child actors actually go beyond my normal prerequisite for child actors to ‘say the lines – don’t be annoying’ to provide pretty much wonderful support throughout. If you enjoy the work of Ken ‘It’s grim up North’ Loach but prefer a story told with a bit more humour and optimism (and who doesn’t want that?) then you can’t go far wrong with Angela’s Ashes.

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