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In America is a 2002 drama film directed by Jim Sheridan, who with help of his two daughters Naomi and Kirsten wrote a story narrowly based on the experiences they underwent when moving from Dublin to New York through Canada in 1980s. It features an Irish couple immigrants with two daughters who are sorrow incapacitated over Frankie’s, their little child, death and decides to find a way to deal with it. The silver screen unwraps with Christy, who is played by Sarah Bolger; her younger sister Ariel, played by Emma Bolger, who are real-life sisters; her father Johnny, played by Paddy Considine, who is brought out as an enduring and supportive man to his family; and her mother Sarah played by Samantha Morton. The film won three academy reward nominations, including Best Actress for Samantha Morton, Best Supporting Actor for Djimon Hounsou, and Best Original Screenplay. This paper will seek to discuss unity in a family, poverty, hope, discrimination, and love for life as seen in the film.

The rich theme of hope in the film is depicted from the moment Jonny decided to move his family from Ireland in efforts to survive in New York City. The family crossed the USA-Canadian border in an old wreck jalopy illegally, but finally they made it to America with the help of their eldest charming and convincing daughter Christy, who reports to a doubtful immigration agent when they approached: “We heard Manhattan before we ever saw it, and you’re not going to trust this, but we had to go under water to get to the city.” And she starts to talk to his dead brother who had promised him three wishes and she perfectly managed to use the first one. This was an inspiration to the family and it boosted their spirit, proving that small miracles exist, one should just believe and have faith.

This film brings out the real life struggles families face in day to day lives, where lack of employment leads to poverty, since people have no source of income to support their families, and even if they get petite jobs, whatever is earned cannot cover their daily expenses; but this never beats them down, because they have to keep working to survive. Strength of family is seen by Johnny and Sarah. They are careworn with the current bereavement of their youngest child, Frankie, who is supposedly reason for them to move to America and still, even with the change in surroundings, neither parent is entirely able to shake their devastating feelings of responsibility. Therefore, they are seen struggling with life to make ends meet: Jonny is forced to find any acting job he could get and still works as a taxi driver, and Sarah, in her turn, must work at an ice cream parlor, but then she finds a job as a teacher. Johny and Sarah must find every penny to be able to pay rent for their worn out, neglected apartment in a building populated mostly by vagrants, and also to pay school fees for their children; thus they even sold their only old wreck to put up their bills. Paddy Considine (Johnny) is portrayed as a supportive, caring father and a husband, who tries “to keep his dreams alive while struggling to meet his responsibilities to his wife and children though living with shattered dreams” (Redwine, 2003).

As a way of ending pain Sarah is expecting a child, and the family meets a Nigerian artist named Mateo, played by Djimon Hounsou, who said to be dying of AIDS. He at once makes friends with Christy and Ariel and they are together painting and playing all over the building. Aids being a major setback in America and around the rest of the world, has led to discrimination, rejection, and stigmatization of people suffering from the virus, instead of sympathizing them and engaging them in social gatherings, taking care of them in order to let them feel wanted and valued in the society; in this way they could have a will and desire to live and could feel themselves as a part of the community. In the film, Mateo builds friendship with the Irish family, although they do not know that he is HIV positive; the bond grew stronger and later when Mateo dies and their baby is born, the hospital bill is put up by Mateo. The family reunites realizing that there is more in life than dwelling on the past, which cannot be changed. So their lives are changed by the new born baby and Mateos’ death, which taught them to love life, live happy and move on with their lives for the sake of their children.

This film reflects on things happening in our society, both social and economical: where the poor live in slums and where all sort of crimes are tolerated. Also, in real life we tend to complain of our misfortunes that have befallen us in the past, without having the courage to put them behind us and to focus on what we have at hand and trying to make it better for our future lives. And the same is reflected in this film, where Jonny and Sarah are affected too much by death of their son, until they forgot their responsibility for their two daughters. Not until the death of Mateo and birth of their child, they learned how to embrace life as it came.

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