Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 32
  2. Negative: 5 out of 32
  1. Lacks the humor and charm that fills the book and makes it so much more than a catalog of suffering.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    True to the book's squalor but also finding honest humor where it can.
  3. I didn't want it to end. I could have easily sat there for another two-and-a-half hours to find out what happens next.
  4. Haunts the conscience, troubles the spirit.
  5. 75
    Something of Angela's Ashes does gets lost in translation -- mainly, its fiercely funny voice.
  6. The question is not whether the movie exactly duplicates the experience of the book, but whether the movie stands on its own. Angela's Ashes clearly does.
  7. Parker has honored the core of the work and in the process turned a great memoir into a memorable movie.
  8. The author calls the movie "perfect" - reassurance that the director hasn't tried to pull any fast ones.
  9. 75
    At times an uneasy mix of cold-eyed neorealism and soft-headed sentimentality, but after its initial struggles it presents itself as a moving film, made with loving craft, a painterly eye and luscious language.
  10. 70
    Dramatic, massive in scale, at times very moving. And yet, somehow, it comes up short in terms of essential poetry.
  11. If this beautifully made if flawed film sends people back to his book, it will have done good work for sure.
  12. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Artfully evokes the physical realities of Irish poverty, but mostly misses the humor, lyricism and emotional charge of Frank McCourt's magical and magnificent memoir
  13. 63
    What is wonderful about Angela's Ashes is Emily Watson's performance, and the other roles that are convincingly cast.
  14. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    While the film dutifully reproduces many incidents from the book, it lacks the spirit and vitality of its source. And - no small problem - it lacks McCourt's voice knitting the vignettes together.
  15. 60
    Parker's adaptation is meticulous, unsentimental, beautifully acted-- but nearly two and a half hours worth of dying babies, rain-spattered streets, ragged children and filthy, bug-infested rooms is a bit oppressive.
  16. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    Not since the latest fashion layout flirted with arty desolation, has misery looked this fabulously pristine.
  17. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    As well-crafted and sensitive as it is, the movie remains one step removed from inspiration.
  18. Reviewed by: Cody Clark
    If Parker had aimed more at capturing the author's unique voice, and worried less about getting the details right, his movie might have been extraordinary as well.
  19. It's the first film I know of in which we get to see all five of the top-billed actors vomit
  20. The end result smacks more of Hollywood melodrama than true compassion for the suffering poor.
  21. 50
    As with so many recent literary adaptations, it was the writing that was the art, not its infrastructure of plot and character.
  22. 50
    For those who adore McCourt's work, Angela's Ashes will most likely disappoint; for those unfamiliar with this inspiring chronicle of a survivor, it will neither impress nor dishearten to any degree.
  23. 50
    140 minutes of flat vignette, as dreary and uninvolving as the driving rain that never lets up on the benighted streets of Limerick.
  24. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Has anyone involved in this disaster ever heard a real story?
  25. Seems populated yet uninhabited; the only real star is the gloom.
  26. A sharp and pungent distillation of the book. However, as far as the theme of childhood under duress goes, I found "My Life as a Dog" or the stridently Irish "Into the West" to be significantly more fulfilling.
  27. 30
    Lacks development and dramatic coherence.
  28. 30
    Never more than a dull, paint-by-numbers, overly literal transcription of the book.
  29. 30
    In the translation from page to film, the life seems to have gone out of the story
  30. 30
    If misery were inherently interesting, this adaptation starring Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle as a couple plagued by alcoholism and child mortality might be too.
  31. The effect of the 2 1/2-hour film is deadening.

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