Movie Review: Evelyn (2002)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Aidan Quinn and Sophie Vavasseur

Directed by: Bruce Beresford

Based on the true story of Desmond Doyle as he went up against the church and Irish law in order to get his children back after they had been taken away from him and sent to church run orphanages.

As I have previous mentioned in several other movie reviews that I’ve done this year, I do tend to enjoy movies that are based or loosely based on true stories over a completely fictitious story as it makes the movie easier to connect and relate with. Evelyn is a movie that’s based on the true story of Desmond Doyle who in 1953 had to go go court and take on the Irish legal system as well as the church in order to gain custody of his children. His wife left the family the day after Christmas and as Desmond was unemployed and didn’t have a woman to take care of his three children, they were taken away from him and placed in the care of church-ran orphanages. After he gets himself a job and quits drinking Desmond refuses to be halted in his quest to have his children home with him where they belong before Christmas comes round again.

The one aspect of this movie that was holding me back slightly was Pierce Brosnan playing leading character Desmond Doyle. I’ve only seen a handful of his movies but have come away with the general opinion that he is a rather mediocre actor and I try and avoid his movies where possible. He was poor in Dante’s Peak, The Ghost and Seraphim Falls and for me is the worst James Bond to date. While I enjoyed Mamma Mia I thought he was by far the worst actor and character and I’m somewhat dreading seeing him reprise his role for the second movie later on this year. However, with all that being said I can say with great pleasure that Pierce Brosnan was actually great in this movie as a doting father just trying to get his children back. It’s by far his best performance that I’ve seen and while there isn’t much competition in that department It’s one of the better Male performances that I’ve seen all year, finally!!! Pierce Brosnan comes good.

He is supported in this movie by a great ensemble of relatively unknown personnel who together tell such a moving and heart warming story of determination and perseverance. Young Sophie Vavassuer who plays title character Evelyn, Desmond Doyle’s daughter, was truly sensational in her acting debut. She was sweet and charming and I couldn’t help but be mesmerised her performance. Of course the movie is going to over dramatise and sensationalise the true events but in all fairness to Evelyn, what movie which is based on true events doesn’t?

The drama in the movie was brilliantly portrayed and never has the word ‘however’ been made to feel so important as the outcome of the movie was finely balanced. Evelyn did it’s best in remaining partisan when it came to dealing with Catholicism as it would’ve been so easy to paint the religion in a negative light but it was largely neutral for the most part. The movie is such an involving story as it makes you really care about the family involved and Desmond is a as relatable as you can get when it comes to a main character. He’s an ordinary man who has flaws like the rest of us but when it comes to his children he becomes the hero he is expected to be in order to protect and provide for them.

In conclusion, this movie was a great watch and it’s a real surprise at how much it has flown under the radar. Such a wonderful movie with a heart warming and emotional story which shows you don’t need a big team of stars to make a movie engaging and powerful. A very good way to start the month of July.


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