Pierce Brosnan puts his spy suit aside for a change and takes a chance with the family drama Evelyn, based on the true story of Irish father Desmond Doyle who lost his children to the state's orphanage system. The result is a decent drama that never reaches anything momentous but never fails to entertain, either.
Brosnan does an excellent job as Doyle, proving that he does have a chance at a career once he finally quits the James Bond franchise (hopefully not anytime soon). He is believable and fun to watch as the lead character, and not afraid to show the faults of the man. He drinks, smokes and even assaults a nun, yet he loves his children and is overall a fun and lighthearted man. However, I would not pick Brosnan for the scruffy look; his scruffiness in this movie would make most clean-shaven men jealous.
Evelyn, titled after his daughter who is taken away from him by the courts after his wife abandons them (his two sons are also taken, though the movie for some reason pays little attention to them), is a moderately effective drama that basically relies on the goodness of Brosnan. While it was a quick and painless watch, I am sure that had Brosnan not been attached to the movie, Evelyn would have seen itself as a television movie, because that is essentially what it is.
Evelyn never achieves that powerful level that really good dramas attain, but it hovers at a point just below. Brosnan is good, the story is good, and I really liked the title character (Sophie Vavasseur), but the movie does suffer from some not-so-good performances (Julianna Margulies is nothing to scream about here) and cheesy antics (the reporter outside the courtroom and the rather clichéd ending). All in all it has the look and feel of a network television drama, but a very good television drama.
In a way, I think Brosnan would have gotten more kudos and attention had this movie been released on television, instead of only in the limited markets of Los Angeles and New York; I think that this story would have appealed to greater audiences.
Evelyn isn't terrific, but it deserves more recognition than it was given, and a wider release than what United Artists decided to do.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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