If director Lance Daly had found the right tone, this could've been a magical little movie about how it's possible to break free from one life and find happiness in another. He didn't.

If director Lance Daly had found the right tone, this could've been a magical little movie about how it's possible to break free from one life and find happiness in another. He didn't.

Instead, this small Irish import is more of a cautionary tale for runaway kids. I don't require or even expect happy endings from my movies, but when they involve 10-year-olds from abusive homes, I can't help but hope for one.

Young non-actors Shane Curry and Kelly O'Neill play Dylan and Kylie, the adorable if foul-mouthed preteens at the movie's heart. After a particularly brutal encounter with Dylan's father, the two run away together to Dublin, where they spend 24 hours blowing through a wad of cash Kylie swiped from her house.

At first they encounter a procession of kindly adults who go out of their way to help them - a barge driver lets them bum a ride into the city, a prostitute shares sage advice. You're almost lulled into anticipating that happy ending.

But as the sun goes down, things get darker and lot less enjoyable.