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"IN AMERICA"
(2003) (Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy Mild Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Minor None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Heavy Heavy Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: An Irish family tries to make ends meet, understand the customs of their new land and deal with a past tragedy when they immigrate to New York City.
PLOT:
Johnny (PADDY CONSIDINE) and Sarah (SAMANTHA MORTON) are an Irish couple who've decided to immigrate to New York City with their daughters, Christy (SARAH BOLGER) and Ariel (EMMA BOLGER). The family is still reeling from the recent death of their young son, Frankie, with Sarah wanting another baby and Johnny having withdrawn into an emotionally distant state.

He's also frustrated that he can't get an acting job and must get by on others, while Sarah takes a job in an ice cream parlor rather than school where she belongs. The girls, meanwhile, are fascinated by the city's trappings, climate and culture. They're also intrigued by a neighbor known as "the man who screams." They eventually meet Mateo (DJIMON HOUNSOU), a muscle-bound artist with AIDS who's initially wary of the girls but quickly warms up to them and their parents.

Time passes and the family settles into their new home and surroundings with Sarah getting pregnant while Mateo's condition worsens. As all of that occurs, Christy tries to use the three wishes that she believes Frankie has granted her for the family situations that need them the most.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens and those who are fans of anyone in the cast or films by director Jim Sheridan might be interested in it, but it doesn't seem likely that too many others kids will be.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some sexuality, drug references, brief violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PADDY CONSIDINE plays an Irish father who lies to border guards about his reason for coming to America with his family (for immigration purposes). Once there, he tries to provide for his family while attempting to get work as an actor, but is frustrated by his lack of success. He briefly uses strong profanity, and both grieves for and is emotionally absent following his son's death.
  • SAMANTHA MORTON plays his wife, a teacher who similarly can't find a job in her field and must then deal with a complicated pregnancy.
  • SARAH BOLGER plays their oldest daughter, the film's narrator who believes she's using various wishes granted by her dead brother to help her family.
  • EMMA BOLGER plays her younger sister who's fascinated by New York but isn't happy that her father is emotionally absent.
  • DJIMON HOUNSOU plays an initially misunderstood neighbor and artist who has AIDS and befriends the girls and their parents.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are used. A married couple is partially seen having sex (with partial nudity and rolling around, etc.), resulting in a pregnancy.

    A junkie pulls a switchblade on a man, while a mysterious neighbor initially appears to be menacing and mean. A person is heard snorting some sort of drug, while related comments are made and some people drink beer. An artist uses some of his own blood in a work, while thematic issues involve AIDS, the immigrant experience, pregnancy complications and loss of a child. The latter two result in some tense family moments, including a father who's cut off his emotions.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content. For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs during a thunderstorm. For those prone to visually-induced motion sickness, some shaky handheld footage might be a little much for them.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see Johnny with a beer during a montage.
  • After a convenience store clerk won't allow Johnny to come back with more money when he comes up short for his purchase, Johnny asks the man, "Do I look like a junkie to you?"
  • There's talk of drug addicts and transvestites.
  • We hear a snorting sound from the back of Johnny's cab (possibly cocaine use) and the guy mentions being high.
  • People have beer at a party.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see blood drip onto Mateo's canvas and then see blood on his hand and a bloody handprint on his artwork.
  • We see donated blood going into a vial and then collection bag.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Johnny and Sarah lie to border guards about their intentions of coming to America.
  • Johnny puts his family's money and future on the line as he plays a carnival game to win a stuffed toy for Ariel, but keeps doubling up the amount that soon endangers their entire savings.
  • The girls aren't happy that they're wearing homemade Halloween costumes vs. the other kids' store bought ones.
  • A drug addict asks Johnny for money, and when Johnny says he has none to give him, the druggie pulls a switchblade and holds it to Johnny.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Christy and Ariel go to the door of Mateo, a man they've never met but who appears to be a scary fellow (they refer to him as the man who screams). A little bit of music plays as they repeatedly knock on the door (that explicitly says "Keep Away") while yelling "trick or treat." He then lets them in his place and we're not sure what to expect, but he turns out to be an okay if misunderstood man.
  • Mateo tells the girls that the building they live in his haunted (it's not) and talks of the voices of the dead (younger kids might find that unsettling).
  • Mateo collapses and Christy performs CPR on him.
  • A drug addict asks Johnny for money, and when Johnny says he has none to give him, the druggie pulls a switchblade and holds it to Johnny. After a tense moment, Johnny bangs the man's hand against the wall and disarms him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A drug addict asks Johnny for money, and when Johnny says he has none to give him, the druggie pulls a switchblade and holds it to Johnny (who disarms him).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I'm a f*cking ghost," "Freaked out," "What the hell is going on up there?" "Keep your trap shut," "Shut up" and "Go to hell."
  • A girl makes an exaggerated face against a window.
  • Mateo uses his own blood as part of some artwork.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A little bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 4 "s" words, 3 hells, 2 damns, 1 ass (used with "hole"), 2 uses of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "Oh Jesus" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a couple getting dressed (possibly after sex). The man is shirtless and the woman is pulling her dress up, but nothing explicit is seen.
  • Johnny playfully blindfolds Sarah, her shirt then comes off and we see her in her bra (back and front with some cleavage). Her bra then comes off and we see the side of her bare breast. As the rest of their encounter continues (some of it in the shadows), it's inter-cut with other, nonsexual scenes. We see the two playing on their bed, with her on top and then brief and partial shots of them having sex (nothing explicit seen). Christy (as the narrator) states that's the moment the baby was conceived. After they're done, Johnny asks Sarah what's the matter. He then jokes if it was that good and then if it was that bad.
  • SMOKING
  • A miscellaneous character smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Johnny and Sarah lost a child in the past (and each answer differently as to how many children they have).
  • Johnny puts his family's money and future on the line as he plays a carnival game to win a stuffed toy for Ariel, but keeps doubling up the amount that soon endangers their entire savings.
  • After playing with the girls and then appearing upset and confused, Johnny comments that he was looking for Frankie (their dead son) and couldn't find him.
  • Sarah asks Johnny if he blames her for their son falling down the stairs in the past (resulting in his death).
  • We hear that the girls' brother died at the age of two.
  • We hear that Sarah's pregnancy will be dangerous to her if it goes full term. Later, the girls hear their parents argue about the dangers of Sarah's pregnancy. Even later, Sarah ends up in the hospital due to complications with her pregnancy and her daughters worry about her (as does Johnny) and want him to pray with them (he won't). As a result, one of the girls is upset and states, "I want my real dad."
  • We learn that Johnny has shut off his emotions following the death of his young son.
  • Johnny and Sarah's baby comes too soon and needs a blood transfusion to live.
  • Sarah hallucinates in the hospital and then finally has an emotional breakdown about their dead son.
  • Christy tells her father not to call her a little girl since she's been carrying the family for the past year since her brother died.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • AIDS. Related to that, Ariel wonders if Christy will get Mateo's disease (but she doesn't seem to know/understand the particulars) since "you kissed him" (meaning performed CPR on him).
  • Shutting off of one's emotions.
  • Losing a child.
  • The immigrant experience in America.
  • Blood transfusions.
  • Complications with pregnancy.
  • Why Johnny puts his family's money and future on the line as he plays a carnival game to win a stuffed toy for Ariel.
  • We see a transvestite in a shop. Later, there's talk of drug addicts and transvestites.
  • The girls aren't happy that they're wearing homemade Halloween costumes vs. the other kids' store bought ones.
  • When Mateo says that Johnny doesn't believe, Johnny replies, "In what? God?" He then goes on to say that he asked for a favor (taking his life rather than that of his son), but that God "took both of us."
  • The comment that you have to be careful what you wish for.
  • Johnny and Sarah's baby comes too soon and needs a blood transfusion to live.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see Mateo tearing up his artwork in anger.
  • A drug addict asks Johnny for money, and when Johnny says he has none to give him, the druggie pulls a switchblade and holds it to Johnny. After a tense moment, Johnny bangs the man's hand against the wall and disarms him.



  • Reviewed October 21, 2003 / Posted November 26, 2003

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