Brooklyn

"Very Good"

Brooklyn Review


Director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby never even try to temper the flood of emotions that this story elicits, instead wading straight in. Thankfully, they manage to resist sentimentality at every step, although perhaps some more offhanded, edgy humour would have helped balance it better. Because as is, this film can be rather overwhelming at times, thanks to the sensitive, honest performances from the cast and a subject most people can identify with: how it feels to leave home.

It opens in 1950, as Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is reluctantly preparing to leave her home and family in rural Ireland for a new life in New York City, arranged with the help of an Irish priest, Father Flood (Jim Broadbent). As she settles into the boarding house run by Mrs Kehoe (Julie Walters), she gets a department store job and starts studying bookkeeping, all of which helps take her mind off her homesickness. She also meets the persistent, charming Italian-American Tony (Emory Cohen), and they fall lustily in love. Just as life doesn't seem so bad after all, Eilis gets bad news and has to travel home to see her family. There, she meets the eligible bachelor Jim (Domhnall Gleeson). And now she will have to make a decision about where her home is.

The film's tone is open and emotive from the very start, with warmly glowing cinematography, a surging musical score and lots of over-serious conversations. The hills of Ireland have never looked so green, the bustling streets of Brooklyn never seemed quite so exciting. There are some comedic touches here and there, but the main tone here can be summed up in the word "yearning". This is a film that's easy to identify with for anyone who has ever moved away from home, especially as it explores conflicting loyalties and unexpected opportunities. These themes are much stronger than the romantic triangle that drives the film forward.

Thankfully, the cast keeps all of the stormy internal feelings in check, creating vividly engaging characters. As always, Ronan is gifted at letting the audience see into her soul, giving Eilis all kinds of textures as she faces her future the best she can. Her scenes with Cohen and Gleeson are both warm and bristling with romantic possibility. And ace scene-stealers like Broadbent, Walters and Brid Brennan (as Eilis' stern boss in Ireland) add some needed spice. Even so, the film is so hugely emotional that it feels more like a fantasy than the way things actually were in the '50s. Cynics will struggle to accept this, but everyone else will be swept away.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Brooklyn here:




Brooklyn

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 4th November 2015

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight

Production compaines: Wildgaze Films, Irish Film Board, Item 7, Parallel Film Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 21

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ellis Lacey, as Jim Farrell, as Tony, as Patty McGuire, as Sheila, as Maurizio Fiorello, Paulino Nunes as Mr. Fiorello, Jenn Murray as Dolores Grace, Eve Macklin as Diana Montini, as Miss Fortini, as Patty, Eve Macklin as Diana, Maeve McGrath as Mary, Jenn Murray as Dolores, Aine Ni Mhuiri as Mrs. Byrne, as Father Flood, Eileen O'Higgins as Nancy

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