Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan) is a working-class Irishman who one day finds his life turned upside-down when his wife walks out on him and his children. Along with his widowed father, Desmond tries to care for the children, which include his precocious daughter Evelyn (Sophie Vavasseur). When he loses his job and spends more time at the local pub boozing, Desmond loses his children to a Catholic orphanage. "Evelyn" is about how, with the help of an eclectic legal team, Desmond brings his family home.
Although Bruce Beresford has never been a particularly stylish director, his best work, like "Crimes in the Heart," "Driving Miss Daisy," and "Black Robe," combined the richness of good storytelling with sparkling performances. "Evelyn" is working so hard to be inspiring that the actors start wearing halos before they've even earned them. Pierce Brosnan does shake off the slickness of inhabiting 007, but his performance doesn't match the witty daring he showed in "The Tailor of Panama." His attempt to win back the kids is only to ennoble the character he's playing. The lovely Julianna Margulies also ends up in the hapless role of love interest and cheerleader. "Evelyn" is nothing more than a chip off the old blarney stone. Starring Pierce Brosnam, Aidan Quinn, Julianna Margulies, Sophie Vavasseur, Steven Rea and Alan Bates. Directed by Bruce Beresford. Written by Paul Pender. Produced by Pierce Brosnan, Beau St. Clair and Michael Ohoven. A United Artists release. Drama. Rated PG for thematic material and language. Running time: 94 min. Opens 12/6.