Are you feeling a little too chipper this summer? Looking for a flick to bring you out of your reverie? Well, then, you’re in luck — 10 minutes of Alan Parker’s Angela’s Ashes should wipe that stupid grin right off your face.
Based on Frank McCourt’s 1996 Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir about his poverty-stricken and disease-ridden childhood in Ireland, Angela’s Ashes, sadly, falls flat on the screen where it shimmered on the page. The script, by Laura Jones (A Thousand Acres) and Parker, is missing the emotional heft and humor that McCourt gave his book, and so the movie settles for conveying its misery through epic rainfalls, floods of sewage, and a whole lot of whining and weeping — warranted, certainly, but brutal on an audience. (After the first 20 times we hear the likes of ”But we have nothing to eat!” I found myself losing compassion at an alarming speed.) Emily Watson does her usual knockout job as McCourt’s long-suffering-but-unflappable mother, and Robert Carlyle pulls off the role of the ne’er-do-well, drunken dad, but the experience of watching this plotless tale of woe is at first dreadful, and then, ultimately, just dull. C+