Review: Evelyn

by Jake Sproul

Rating: (out of )

There is no doubt in my mind that the reason Evelyn has been released is due to the fact that its star, Pierce Brosnan, has signed on for a fifth James Bond starring himself. My reasoning is because Evelyn is little more than a shot for Brosnan to spread is acting wings, and become someone other than Bond, James Bond. Evelyn is a simple movie, that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its a feel good movie, with very few problems. However (yes...there is a however), Evelyn is too simple and straight forward to be taken as anything but a glorified made for TV movie.

Evelyn is an inspirational story of fighting against, and beating the odds. The protagonist here is Desmond Doyle, a good father, who finds himself hopelessly lost when his wife runs away. Desmond cannot take care of his 3 children, Evelyn, Maurice, and Dermot, so the courts order that Evelyn be placed in the care of the Nuns at a Catholic boarding school, and the two younger boys at a Catholic boarding school for boys. Things get tricky when Desmond tries to get his children back, and discovers a loop-hole that requires the consent of both mother and father in order for the releasing of the children. Along with a romantic interest named Bernadette and two kind lawyers, Desmond challenges the courts to change the laws, in a supreme effort to get his kids back.

The problem with Evelyn is not that it has poorly constructed plot lines, but that the plot line that it does have appears to be made with the intent of a Delta Burke movie, made of Lifetime: Television for Women. Watching Desmond try to get his children back is touching, but rarely compelling, and even scarcer yet, unique. When I write a movie review, I usually like to write it somewhere in the area of 2-3 days after viewing the movie. Sometimes, I even begin on the very day. Evelyn, though, has stayed fresh in my mind, and it has been nearly a week since my showing of the movie. This is not a credit to the film, but a discredit to the simplicity of the plot.

Evelyn takes place in Ireland in the 1940’s. Thus, the courtroom etiquette and legal system is different than that we see on Law & Order. Fortunately, there is no problem in understand what is going on during the numerous courtroom scenes. The Irish setting does not cause a problem in the legal scenes, but it does cause a problem when it comes to accents. Pierce Brosnan’s accent does not blend well, especially less than a month after such a prolific film as the 20th James Bond, Die Another Day. Pierce can carry an Irish accent far better than co-star Julianna Margulies, whose accent is so wavering, one might wonder if there were split personalities or something.

As I mentioned, Evelyn is Pierce Brosnan’s chance to do some “real” acting work. And in what is probably the most memorable thing about Evelyn, Pierce does prove he has acting skills. While his accent may be off occasionally, his emotions are not. Same can not be said for Julianna Margulies, who I am sorry to say brings down the entire quality of the film, simply by here presence. When one of the characters has a heart attack, and Desmond calls for a doctor, I was preparing to here her say, “Get Dr. Green in here! STAT!”

My Big Fat Greek Wedding will easily take the prize of “feel-good” movie of the year, and rightfully so. Evelyn’s purpose on the movie radar is to do something just like My Big Fat Greek Wedding: make us happy. It does so, with an inspirational tale. However, Evelyn is bogged down in its own unoriginality and predictability, not to mention the God-awful accents! Evelyn is worthy of a rainy day rental, but when you consider the average price for a ticket and concessions for 2 people is easily $20 at the theater, Evelyn is not worthy of that kind of money, nor my recommendation.

© 2002 Jacob Sproul

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