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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Evelyn

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Aidan Quinn
Director: Bruce Beresford
Rated: PG
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: December 2002
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Julianna Margulies, Stephen Rea, Sophie Vavasseur, John Lynch, Alan Bates, Frank Kelly

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

In this unabashedly sentimental family drama, Pierce Brosnan delivers a bravura performance as a real-life father who - back in 1953 - challenged the constitutionality of the Irish Family Act in a courageous fight to regain custody of his children. Brosnan plays Desmond Doyle, an unemployed Dublin housepainter, who's abandoned by his feckless wife on the day after Christmas and left with the responsibility of caring for three young children: two boys and a precocious daughter named Evelyn. Drinking far too much at the pub, he's haplessly struggling when his mother-in-law reports him to the authorities. Then, when the callous courts take his children away and put them in strict, church-run orphanages, Doyle is devastated. Vowing to reunite his family, he enlists the help of a sympathetic barkeep (Julianne Margulies), who gathers a legal team: her solicitor brother (Stephen Rea), Irish-American lawyer friend (Aidan Quinn) and his still-raffish law school mentor (Alan Bates). Together, they're determined to seek justice, even if it means going to all the way to the Irish Supreme Court. Written as a David-and-Goliath story by Paul Pender, it's told with economy, eloquence and elegance. Director Bruce Beresford, who excels at compelling court scenes ("Breaker Morant"), stages the complex legal battle as well as plumbing the heart-wrenching depths of the emotional encounters. Inspired to reach far beyond his famous James Bond character, Brosnan remains cheeky - with a twinkle in his eye - yet solidly portraying the rough-edged, devoted father, and luminous nine year-old Sophie Bavasseur is enchanting in the title role. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Evelyn" is an optimistic, uplifting 8, demonstrating not only fathers' rights but the triumph of the human spirit.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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