I'm not really big on this kind of film, but this one won me over in a big way. Jim Sheridan has such a sure hand as a director that even as the story meanders along, and you're not quite sure where things are going, you know HE knows and you end up trusting him and going along for whatever ride he wants to take you on. The characters and the actors portraying them are so winning, you don't want the movie to end. You just want to stay with them forever.
Every role, right down to the two border guards and the hospital administrator are perfectly cast and performed. The two sisters playing the daughters are amazing. But the acting in the film really belongs to Samantha Morton. It really is a high wire act. In lesser hands this character might have been completely unbelievable. But her love for her husband and children is so palpable, you completely buy everything she has to go through with them.
There were so many chances for cheap sentiment here, but the movie never went there. Really beautiful.