The title character in the old- fashioned family drama Evelyn is a sturdy Irish girl (Sophie Vavasseur) who, in 1953, has been packed off to a gloomy convent school because her mother has walked out on her Da, Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan), and her two brothers. (The country's harsh Family Act of 1941 didn't allow a single father to care for his kids, even if Da looked like Pierce Brosnan.)
The plot, based on a real case, is inevitable: Desmond will quit hoisting pints, assemble the right legal help, change Irish law, and live to eat Christmas pudding with his sprats again. The storytelling, as directed by Bruce Beresford (''Driving Miss Daisy''), is simple and relaxed -- an Irish sweater of a production. The surprises to be had, then (smelling ever so slightly of oiled wool and pub fumes), lie with the cast of twinkling gents assembled to enact their ordained roles. Stephen Rea, Aidan Quinn, and Alan Bates play Desmond's legal eagles, and when joined by Brosnan, the sight of this grandiloquent quartet lolling in pretty Irish settings is a pleasant enough thing, 'tis.