Everyone’s family is a mess. Luckily, not everyone is defined by the roots from which they originate.

Black Irish is a wonderful family drama about a Boston kid named Cole McKay (Michael Angarano) who is fighting against the demons of his household. His father, Desmond (Brendan Gleeson) is a heavy-drinking hard-ass. His mother, Margaret (Melissa Leo) is the beautiful enabler.

His brother, Terry (Tom Guiry) is trouble with a capital “T.” And his sister is unmarried and pregnant. Oh, did I mention ... they’re Catholic?

Not since Ordinary People (1980) has the American family unraveled so realistically on the big screen. Brad Gann makes a stunning directorial debut with this project.

It would be really easy for a family of working class Irish in Boston to come across as a cheap caricature. But instead, each character has humanity. Even when the plot finds each of them going down paths that are surprising and scary, the drama – for the most part – is played concisely by each actor.

At the end of the film, it becomes clear that despite the world around him, Cole is a good kid that’s going to be just fine.

Grade: B+

Black Irish is currently in select theaters.