Name of the Film: Evelyn
Director: Bruce Beresford
Evelyn is a film which expertly combines scenes of fineness and tenderness with others of exuberance, to produce a quality work which both inspires and delights. It tells the story of a father in Ireland in the 1950’s who, after his wife walks out on the family, is forced to surrender his children to the state. The two boys and the girl, Evelyn are then placed in Church administered orphanages.
Sophie Vavasseur is excellent in her first major role as Desmond (played by Pierce Brosnan) Doyle’s daughter, Evelyn, who joins her father in standing against the power of the Irish Catholic Church and the Irish Supreme Court as they challenge these institution’s right to fragment families in hardship.
Refreshing also is the screen appearance of Frank Kelly. One sees his acting talent in this role as Doyle’s father and his part here is a far cry from the monosyllabic mumblings of his character of Father Jack Hackett on television’s Father Ted.
So many actors in this cast shine in retelling the true story of a relatively uneducated father’s courage and determination in his stand against a stubborn and often brutal system. Julianna Margulies as Bernadette Beattie exhibits a feisty and patiently reforming zeal in her relationship with Desmond Doyle, and the legal counsel represented by Michael Beattie (Stephen Rea), Nick Barron (Aidan Quinn) and Tom Connolly (Alan Bates) are everything that one would expect from three such distinguished actors. Special mention also needs to be made of John Lynch as Mr Wolfe, Senior Counsel whose restrained performance allows the audience to suspect an internal villainy.
Clearly the film is also a labour of love for Pierce Brosnan, who not only plays the lead character of Desmond Doyle but also co-produced, and sings two of the songs for the film (“On the Banks of the Roses” and “The Parting Glass”). Evelyn is a beautiful film, skillfully directed by Bruce Beresford who demonstrates more than adequately, what a mature filmmaker can deliver.