Even the great Emily Watson can’t save this one from being an unrewarding experience. Based on the popular autobiographical novel by Frank McCourt, the film tells the story of a family facing complete impoverishment in 1930s Ireland. Director Alan Parker creates a setting that is dismal enough, but inhabits it with characters that don’t summon much interest. The child actors are OK, and Watson does nicely with her limited screen time, but this one doesn’t go beyond a dreary exercise in misery. Granted, it shouldn’t be a happy film, but some humor and relief from the muck would’ve been appreciated.