In this based-on-a-true-story drama, Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan) is abandoned by his wife on the day after Christmas in 1953. A perpetually unemployed drunkard, Desmond is unable to support his daughter Evelyn (Sophie Vavasseur) and two sons. The Irish government declares him unfit and places them in Catholic orphanages. Desmond works hard to make himself a fit parent, but Irish law prevents him from reclaiming his children. Bernadette Beattie (Julianna Margulies) provides the emotional support as his case goes to the Irish Supreme Court.
The film has positive themes as well as reasons for caution. Evelyn stands up for the truth, relies on her faith in hard times, and understands forgiveness better than the religious people who control her future. Desmond himself expresses a significant Christian faith. But the film depicts a lot of drinking in a neutral and occasionally humorous context, and the use of crude and profane language is significant.