In 1950s Ireland, Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan) is struggling to hold down regular employment and bring up three kids on his own. Sadly, the authorities intervene and his children are packed off to Catholic orphanages. Desmond despairs but a chance meeting with a lawyer (Stephen Rea) leads to a barrister deciding to fight his case against the church and legal system.

3.5
It\'s an old-fashioned production, but interest is maintained because of the fascinating ins and outs of the case itself.

In the conservative Ireland of 1953, Desmond Doyle\'s wife abandons him and their three children, sails for Australia with her lover, and disappears. Doyle, Pierce Brosnan, an unemployed alcoholic, is devastated when his kids are taken away from him by the authorities and placed in orphanages. After a thwarted attempt to \'rescue\' them, he decides to straighten himself up and, assisted by a legal team anxious to change Ireland\'s dated laws, challenges in court the state\'s refusal to return his children in court.This is a true story, and an interesting one. Director Bruce Beresford unfolds the details of the case with lucidity and precision, and young Sophie Vavasseur, who plays Doyle\'s daughter, Evelyn, is a charmer. It\'s true that the style of the film, an Irish-British co-production, produced by Brosnan, offers nothing in the way of originality. In many ways, it\'s an old-fashioned production, but interest is maintained because of the fascinating ins and outs of the case itself and because Beresford and his actors make the characters interesting. Stephen Rea as Doyle\'s dogged lawyer, is always good value, and it\'s great to see the late Alan Bates having a whale of a time as a celebrated retired barrister who enthusiastically agrees to advise the legal team.