Black Irish 2008 R

Amazon Instant Video

(19) IMDb 7.1/10

In South Boston, where Irish roots run deep and Catholic tradition reigns, two brothers face similar hardships but lead far different lives.

Starring:
Michael Angarano, Brendan Gleeson
Runtime:
1 hour 36 minutes

Black Irish

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Customer Reviews

Their problems range from minor to significant, but ALWAYS constant.
B. E Jackson
This is an intensely realistic examination of a fragile Irish Catholic family striving to makes sense of a world that is increasingly chaotic.
Grady Harp
It was very well done though, with an all-star cast, and a few twists in the story.
Todd Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2008
Format: DVD
BLACK IRISH is one of those little Independent films that manage to give more to the audience than the extreme constrictions of time and budget would suggest. Writer/director Brad Gunn (his first film) manages to tell a story about an Irish family from South Boston that is sincere, realistic, poignant, and profound, and though he worked with a small budget and a shooting schedule of 22 days, he has produced a fine little gem of a film.

The McKay family has problems: father Desmond (Brendan Glesson) lacks work and spends most of his time drinking beer and watching baseball on TV, having been a promising baseball player as a youngster but nipped by the Vietnam War into glum lethargy; mother Margaret (Melissa Leo) resents the shadow of the man she married and works as a social worker to support her family; daughter Kathleen (Emily VanKamp) is pregnant, unwed, and when denied the choice of abortion by her mother's strong Catholicism is determined to have the child by herself, giving it the loving home she feels she has been denied; son Terry (Tom Guiry) is a tortured delinquent who is a gang member and always in conflict with the law; and youngest son Cole (the excellent young 20-year-old Michael Angarano of 'One Last Thing', 'Man in the Chair', 'Snow Angels', 'Lords of Dogtown', 'Seabiscuit', etc) is conflicted by wanting to be a priest versus wanting to be a professional baseball player - he is the good kid and the last hope of his parents.

Terry tricks Cole into accompanying a house break-in and the trouble begins. The financial crisis at home drives Cole to get a job in a restaurant, and drives Desmond to menial work shining shoes.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence W. Jamison, Jr. on April 29, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a gut wrenching yet heartwarming story with superb acting by most of the cast - real to life. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sixstring on October 9, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
i consider this to be one of the better films i have seen in quite some time. such a good mix of bright and dark, humour and pathos as real life is.

the bid with the bird flying into the window is worth watching the movie even if you don't like the rest of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. E Jackson on July 31, 2010
Format: DVD
Wow! Black Irish is a lost masterpiece in the world of drama films. It's about an Irish family that moves to Boston, and while there, each of the five family members (a father, mother, two brothers and a sister) each have their own problems. Their problems range from minor to significant, but ALWAYS constant. This becomes apparent right from the beginning when you see that the two brothers are not exactly on the same page.

If there's one really tiny complaint, it's that the sister problems didn't get much attention in comparison to the rest of her family, but then again, her problems (without revealing anything) have been the topic of choice in several other movies.

The majority of the storyline focuses on the extremely rocky relationship between the two brothers. One brother always appears good and honest, while the other one is definitely a punk and a troublermaker, always picking on his younger brother and forcing him to do things he wants absolutely no part of.

The younger brother has dreams about being a baseball player. That's what he wants more than anything else. However, he has a really hard time convincing his parents that's what he wants, and his mother in particular thinks it's nothing more than a foolish dream. The father however, turns out to be a big baseball fan.

The father has some pretty devastating secrets and might be the most underrated character in the film. You really feel for him.

The drama segments are really interesting because they go through a TON of twists and turns. It really makes you feel for this family and hope they pull through with their numerous problems. You really become attached to each family member.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Todd Smith on July 23, 2013
Format: DVD
This is not an original story, it seems that in recent years we have been flooded with stories that are very similar to this. It was very well done though, with an all-star cast, and a few twists in the story. Black Irish is another story about an Irish family living in Boston. Dad's an alcoholic, Mom is as strict as they come, the older brother is into crime, the older sister is facing a life changing decision, and Cole McKay (Michael Angarano) is stuck in the middle. The story chronicles a year in the life of the McKay family and features many changes that oddly happen all at once. The story wasn't anything special, but it was done in a way that wasn't as predictable as some of the other Boston family films, none of the characters are cops, and there is even some humor thrown in here and there. Being a lifelong baseball fan, that angle of Cole's life was the one I really related to and it helped the film to stand out even a little more. Oscar winner, Melissa Leo, does an amazing job and really puts the emotions into context. Everyone in the McKay family is a tough guy, they don't feel anything, and while she appears to be the strictest one of all, she's the one who really expresses the emotions that everyone must have felt. Angarano wasn't bad either, but I've seen him in things before and as usual, he lacks any kind of expression, he just always seems to go with the flow and do an adequate job, but nothing else. The big surprise of this film was seeing Tom Guiry, A.K.A. Smalls from the Sandlot as a tough, Boston-area, criminal. Seeing the sweet, innocent, kid I grew up know as Scotty Smalls, turn into a fowl mouthed, tough ass, drug dealer was pretty funny. Overall, Black Irish isn't a bad film, it's entertaining and it's unpredictable.Read more ›
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