Angela’s Ashes. (Proposta didàctica en anglès)

The film: Angela’s Ashes

Author: Núria Palà

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Brooklyn and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story

Author Biography

Frank McCourt was born on August 19, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the first of seven children born to Malachy and Angela McCourt. When he was four, his sister Margaret died. In that same year, the family decided to leave New York and return to their native Ireland. They settled in Limerick in southwest Ireland.

In Limerick during the 1930s, the McCourt family was desperately poor. Malachy McCourt was an alcoholic and was frequently unemployed. McCourt’s twin brothers both died of pneumonia, probably due to the unhealthy living conditions. McCourt spent three months in the hospital with typhoid fever when he was ten. In the early 1940s, during World War II, McCourt’s father went to England to work in a munitions factory in Coventry, but he never sent any money back to his family.

Director:            Alan Parker

Writers              Frank McCourt (book)

Laura Jones (screenplay)

Release Date:  21 January 2000 (Spain)

Plot:                  Based on the best selling autobiography by Irish expat Frank McCourt


Emily Watson:           Angela McCourt

Robert Carlyle           Malachy (Dad)

Joe Breen:                 Young Frank

Ciaran Owens:          Middle Frank

Michael Legge :         Older Frank

Ronnie Masterson:    Grandma Sheehan

Pauline McLynn:        Aunt Aggie

Liam Carney:             Uncle Pa Keating

Eanna MacLiam:       Uncle Pat

Andrew Bennett:        Narrator (voice)


Dole: money received from the state

Slum: a district of a city marked by poverty and inferior living conditions

Consumption: disease involving the lungs with progressive wasting of the body

Wee: very small

Damp: wet

Beggar: a pauper who lives by asking for money or food

After watching the film, answer the following questions giving a reason for your answers.

1.  Write a short summary of the story.

2.What are the main characters in Angela’s Ashes? Explain them briefly. How many

brothers or sisters does Frank have? How many of them died?

3. Where was Frank born? When and why did the family move to another country?

4. Name and explain a scene that reflects the degree of poverty or hunger in McCourt’s family. Name some of the facts in the country, Ireland, or in Mc Court’s family that can cause such poverty.

5. In your opinion, why is the film titled “Angela’s Ashes”?

6. Give a personal opinion on the film: Did you like it? Why?

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