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264 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the director of Driving Miss Daisy comes this compelling, heartwarming and inspiring true story of a father (Pierce Brosnan) who faces impossible odds to keep his family together. Times are tough in Dublin, Ireland. But no one has it tougher than Desmond Doyle when his wife runs off and his beloved daughter Evelyn and two young sons are sent to an orphanage by the government.Enlisting the help of loyal friends (Julianna Margulies, Stephen Rea) and a feisty American lawyer (Aidan Quinn), he takes his case to Ireland's Supreme Court in a history-making quest to topple an ironclad law and win back the custody of his children!

Special Features

  • "The Story Behind the Story" featurette
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Julianna Margulies, Aidan Quinn, Alan Bates, Bruce Beresford
  • Directors: Bruce Beresford, Jerry Hogrewe
  • Writers: Paul Pender
  • Producers: Beau St. Clair, Cynthia A. Palormo, Eberhard Kayser, Jan Hogrewe, Kevan Barker
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008DDVT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,266 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Evelyn" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 27, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
"Evelyn" is a dramatization of the Irish Supreme court case which led to sweeping changes in Ireland's child welfare system in the 1950's. Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan) is an unemployed tradesman and father of three young children whose mother has deserted them. In accordance with Ireland's Children's Act, his children are forcibly removed from his custody and placed in Catholic orphanages. Even when Doyle becomes gainfully employed and improves his circumstances tremendously, the State refuses to return the children to his custody without their absent mother's consent. Doyle enlists the aid of three lawyers to help him win his "hopeless" challenge to the well-entrenched principles of family law in Ireland at that time. Together they challenge the constitutionality of the Children's Act before Ireland's Supreme Court. The "Evelyn" of the film's title is Doyle's eldest child whose testimony in court so influenced the outcome of the case.
For "Evelyn", Pierce Brosnan goes back to his Irish roots and does a good job in an atypical role for him. Stephen Rea, Aidan Quinn and Alan Bates are all convincing as lawyers of very different personalities and experience, who nonetheless find themselves in sympathy with Desmond Doyle and working together on a seemingly impossible task. Sophie Vavasseur, the young actress who plays Evelyn, does so with just the right amount of pluck and innocence. Although "Evelyn" is about a court case, it is not a courtroom drama. There is relatively little time allotted to courtroom scenes. The relationships between the characters and the ways in which they are affected by their unfortunate circumstances are emphasized over the legal intricacies of the case. All in all, "Evelyn " is a touching and entertaining true story of a parent's commitment to his children, whose own willingness to change out of love for them ultimately brought about legal changes that helped many children in similar circumstances.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By B. Emanuele on April 9, 2003
Format: DVD
"Evelyn" is the movie that Pierce Brosnan promised his fans it would be: heartwarming, touching and full of hope.
The movie is based on the true story of Desmond Doyle, who forever changed the laws in Ireland in 1953 by proving that the Children's Act of 1942 worked against the unalienable rights granted to parents and children in the Irish constitution. Of course, liberties with the film have been taken along the way, but the love that Doyle had for his children, and they for him, comes through loud and clear.
Kudos goes to Sophie Vavasseur, Hugh McDonagh, and Niall Beagan who play the Doyle children, Sophie, Maurice and Dermott. These children performed their roles very well, and are always a welcome addition to the scenes they are in.
Sophie Vavasseur could have played up being cute, or played up being a brat with the nuns, but she, like the adults around her, goes for natural style. She plays Evelyn as a real child, and in doing so, makes that character all the more real to the audience.
Credit too goes to the adults around them, who allowed these kids to be actors, without fear of the scenes being stolen by them. And speaking of those adults:
The Catholic Church: My one quibble with this film is how the Christian Brothers are portrayed. One could walk away from this film thinking that the Christian Brothers were good and the nuns were bad. Not so, they all stunk. Never the less, the interaction at the convent, rings true of behavior by those employed by the church then, and sadly, now.
Frank Kelly: Playing Henry Doyle, the father of Desmond and grandfather to the children, Kelly does an excellent job capturing the heart of man who loves his family dearly and does what he can to support all of them, while he is with them, and while he is not.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Bodek on July 4, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Pierce Brosnan proves once and for all that he is not just eye candy, but a truly gifted actor. The film itself is flawless. Every performance is meticulously drawn out by Beresford's masterful directing. The story is factually based heart-wrenching saga of a father's love for his children and how he and a small band of legal warriors changed the child advocacy laws in Ireland. My biggest question is why there was no market for this wonderful film. I don't think it even appeared in my city. To go through the stellar performances one by one with a suitable comment might take too long.
Aiden Quinn, Julianna Margulies, Stephen Rea, John Lynch and the ever brilliant Alan Bates are all marvelous. Sophie Vavasseur as the precious EVELYN is a joy. I would never have heard of this film had I not watched a Brosnan interview. Great film making is so often passed over by glitzy Hollywood fare. The true art of film is found in beautiful quiet films like this one.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Themis-Athena on February 27, 2004
Format: DVD
Ever since the constitutional reform of 1936, the Catholic Church and the Irish state have been inexorably linked; more so than in almost any other western society. A substantial part of Irish legislation - particularly, Irish family law - was (and partly, still is) directly based on Catholic doctrine: prohibiting divorce and abortion; and until 1953, prohibiting a single father from bringing up his children without the mother's consent, thus in essence committing every motherless child to church orphanages until age 16. This changed only when the Irish Supreme Court declared the respective sections of the Children's Act unconstitutional - a landmark decision because for the first time the ties between church and state were broken, and for the first time an Irish statute had been declared unconstitutional at all. "Evelyn" tells the story of the man whose civil action made this decision come about.

Desmond Doyle was a blue-collar Dublin painter and decorator, left to take care of his daughter Evelyn and her brothers alone after his wife had run away with another man. Jobless, penniless and more given to drowning his sorrows in Guinness than addressing them head-on, he was ill-suited for the task, and it didn't take long for church and state to step in and decree that, under prevalent law, Evelyn and her brothers were to be committed to Catholic orphanage schools. Certain that he wouldn't be able to afford a lawyer - and having been told that his case was hopeless anyway - Doyle unsuccessfully tried to regain his children by other means, his methods of choice being bullying and abduction.
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