YMMV / In America

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Johnny's dislike of Mateo. Could it come from feeling he's a bad influence on Sarah - given her medical problems? Is he jealous that his wife is getting close to another man? Is it resentment that Mateo is providing comfort when he can't? Is it straight-up racism (not as unlikely as you'd think - Ireland being an incredibly white country for most of the 20th century, and if Johnny was from a smaller area then chances are he's never known a black person before)?
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Seeing Djimon Honsou becoming a surrogate father becomes rather nice when paired with Blood Diamond - where he plays a Papa Wolf who will stop at nothing to rescue his son and eventually does.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: From time to time, it looks as if the story could be setting up an affair between Sarah and Mateo. The latter fulfils Sarah's emotional needs in the way that Johnny can't - and it seems as if Johnny is especially jealous of that. But it's entirely platonic.
  • Retroactive Recognition: People these days will now easily recognise Sarah Bolger as Christy since she has starred in The Spiderwick Chronicles, Stormbreaker and The Tudors.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • When Mateo dies.
    • Also, Christy's last wish: "Say goodbye to Frankie, dad.".
    • The Halloween costume scene can hit home for anyone who's been in a similar situation. Christy and Ariel make their costumes themselves, but arrive at school to find that everyone else has bought theirs. It instantly reminds Christy of their own poor financial circumstances and how they don't fit in. The award the school gives them for it just seems to make her feel worse.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Christy's "you're American already, it's disgusting" to Ariel comes across as a little racist to non-Irish viewers.
    • Johnny and Sarah not knowing about trick-or-treating and treating it as something alien is presumably a holdover from when the film was set in the 80s. Halloween never used to be a big deal in Ireland and the UK, so parents who grew up in the 50s and 60s would have no idea what trick-or-treating is. But in the 90s and 2000s they had caught up with the trend, and the two girls would probably have done it before.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Intended as a family film yet has mentions of a character with a brain tumour, a lengthy sex scene between the parents and Mateo dying of AIDS.
  • The Woobie: All of the characters to some extent:
    • Ariel notably appears to be The Pollyanna at first, but she edges even closer to being an Innocence Lost character. Her younger brother has already died, things are rocky between her parents and she eventually loses a surrogate friend. It's a very sobering moment when she says "everyone is dying".
    • Christy is clearly affected by the culture change more than her sister and she's old enough to pick up on the tension between their parents. She also grows distant from her sister - who complains that she spends more time with her camcorder than her. It's again quite sobering when she snaps at Johnny - "don't you 'little girl' me. I've been carrying this family on my back". Remember that she's only ten years old.
    • Sarah is a Stepford Smiler who seems to have given up on being happy, but is doing her best to fake it to keep her children happy.
    • Johnny sums up his Woobie status with this line - "I prayed to take me instead of him. Instead he took the both of us, and look what he left instead."
    • Mateo lost his entire family and lives alone.

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