Teen Irish actress Sarah Bolger made her first film at the tender age of 8 in the Irish movie "A Love Divided" (1999). She was launched to the spotlight at age 11 after starring alongside her sister Emma Bolger as the spunky daughters of an illegal Irish immigrant couple (played by Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton) who struggles to fit their new life in the United States, in the critically-acclaimed film ''In America'' (2002).
Following her award-winning performance in ''In America'' (2002), Sarah went on to star in the film adaptation of Maeve Binchy's novel, "Tara Road" (2005), and in the film version of Anthony Horowitz's best-selling teen spy novel, "Stormbreaker," in which she portrayed Alex Rider's (played by Alex Pettyfer) aide and school friend Sabina Pleasure.
Next, Sarah will portray Mallory Grace in an upcoming big screen version of Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi's best-selling children's book series, "The Spiderwick Chronicles," opposite Freddie Highmore and David Strathairn.
Childhood and Family:
In Dublin, Ireland, Sarah Bolger was born on February 28, 1991, to Monica and Derek Bolger (a butcher). Her younger sister is actress Emma Bolger, who played her on-screen sister in the film ''In America'' (2002).
The Spiderwick Chronicles
At the tender age of 8, Sarah Bolger made her first big screen appearance in the Irish movie "A Love Divided" (1999). In the moving and dramatic true story-based film directed by Sydney Macartney, she portrayed Eileen Cloney, the daughter of a a Protestant mother (played by Orla Brady) stands up against a fanatical Catholic parish priest. Also in that year, she became the daughter of an Irish television reporter (played by Paudge Behan) and the granddaughter of Fionnula Flanagan's character, in the TV movie version of Barbara Taylor Bradford's novel, "A Secret Affair" (1999; also starring Janine Turner).
"Its different watching yourself on screen. You're doing one scene, and then you turn on the screen, and say 'Oh my God, did I actually say it like that?'" Sarah Bolger.
In 2002, 11-year-old Sarah was shot to fame after starring as Christy, one of the spunky daughters of an illegal Irish immigrant couple (played by Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton) who struggles to fit their new life in the United States, in the critically-acclaimed film ''In America.'' She was initially overlooked for the role, but was eventually cast after her sister Emma, who first got the part in the same film, demanded film director Jim Sheridan to take a look at Sarah who was waiting in the car. The two real-life sisters eventually play on-screen siblings in the film. On her character's move to America, Sarah described, "You can even imagine it yourself, walking into these new surroundings."
Sarah's performance in the film later garnered positive reviews, winning her a Phoenix Film Critics Society (PFCS) Award for Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Female. She also received nominations at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (for Best Young Actor/Actress), Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (for Most Promising Performer), Independent Spirit Awards (for Best Supporting Female), Screen Actors Guild Awards (for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture), and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards (for Best Supporting Actress).
"The first audition I did for the kids, I got those two sisters (Sarah and Emma Bolger). They're beyond good. Martin Sheen went to see it and he said he thought the kids' performances were the best kids' performances he'd ever seen. Some of the time I felt like she (Sarah) understood up to the age of 50. She maintained a type of maturity-innocence. Those kids were fantastic to work with." ''In America'' (2002) director/co-writer Jim Sheridan.
Meanwhile, Sarah provided her voice in the book-based cartoon series "The World of Tosh" (2002) and appeared in two 2004 episodes of the Irish drama series "The Clinic." She then returned to the big screen in 2005 with the 23-minute drama film "Premonition" and Gillies MacKinnon's film adaptation of Maeve Binchy's novel, "Tara Road," starring Andie MacDowell, Olivia Williams, and Stephen Rea.
2006 saw Sarah in the Irish miniseries "Stardust" and in Geoffrey Sax's film version of Anthony Horowitz's best-selling teen spy novel, "Stormbreaker," in which she portrayed Alex Rider's (played by Alex Pettyfer) aide and school friend Sabina Pleasure.
She has completed her upcoming film, "The Spiderwick Chronicles," Mark Waters' big screen adaptation of Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi's best-selling children's book series of the same name in which she will portray 13-year-old avid fencer Mallory Grace, opposite Freddie Highmore as her twin brothers Simon and Jared Grace, and David Strathairn as their great, great uncle Arthur Spiderwick.
Phoenix Film Critics Society (PFCS): Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role - Female, "In America," 2004