Alan Parker directs and co-scripts this big screen adaptation of Frank McCourt's best-selling quasi-autobiographical book. Although born in Brooklyn in 1935, Frank and his family soon return to their home town of Limerick in Ireland following the death of his baby sister. Malachy Snr. (Robert Carlyle) has difficulty finding work, and his drinking results in wife Angela (Emily Watson) falling on charity to survive. Frank loses two more siblings when twin brothers Oliver and Eugene die young, but manages to carve a life for himself in Limerick, eventually finding work as a coalman's assistant. However, times continue to be hard, especially after Malachy Snr. departs the marital home for good.