From Ireland with Love
A film of quiet beauty, Brooklyn takes us back to Ireland and Brooklyn in the 1950s. It’s a sentimental journey about romance, homesickness, friends, family and decisions. This remarkable movie, masterfully directed by John Crowley from Nick Hornby’s sensitive adaptation of a novel by Colm Toibin, touched me deeply. But I’m not the only one. Who hasn’t felt the despair of moving away from loved ones or from a town you grew up in? Or the frustration of trying to decide which place is your real home? Brooklyn highlights these universal situations in a way that almost makes us feel we’re experiencing everything right along with Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), the movie’s main character.
Across the sea she sails one day
to New York where she plans to stay.
Leaving her home makes her feel bad.
We sense her pain and why she’s sad.
But Ireland holds no future there.
Will she find hope or is it rare?
She needs a job and some new friends.
So we care deeply how this film ends.
Two men love her. Which will she choose?
She must decide on one to lose.
Saoirse Ronan draws us right in.
Her acting an award should win.
A poignant movie, Brooklyn imparts
a sense of place and loving hearts.
Old-fashioned? Yes, and so well made --
with period scenes that will not fade.
True classics should be cherished more.
And Brooklyn is one you’ll adore.
What a surprise that it appears
so lovely now in later years!
Much of the credit for this movie’s success goes to a strong performance by Ronan (Hanna). Her nuanced portrayal of the shy, unsophisticated, intelligent, ambitious Eilis should be recognized with an Oscar nomination this year, or there’s no justice in filmdom. Every emotion rings true as Eilis leaves Ireland, her mother (Jane Brennan) and sister (Fiona Glascott), who -- next to my own, is the nicest sis ever! -- to go to Brooklyn, USA, where more job opportunities beckon, due to help from a caring Catholic priest (Jim Broadbent). And the same holds true as Eilis misses her family, adjusts to a new environment, finds a job, pursues an education, and falls in love with a young Italian plumber (Emory Cohen).
But just when things seem to be going so well for her, Eilis gets called back to Ireland. While there, she discovers exciting opportunities have opened for her. And a former friend (Domhnall Gleeson), who’s “quite a catch,” becomes smitten with her. She’s now faced with the biggest decision of her life. Should she stay -- or should she go back to Brooklyn?
Although Ronan’s splendid performance anchors this wonderful motion picture, the entire cast deserves recognition. Plus, the look and feel of the film contributes to its high quality. The 1950s décor, costumes, make-up and hair styles are spot on -- at least the way I remember them when I visited Brooklyn during that time frame; Yves Belanger’s soft palette cinematography and Michael Brook’s subtle musical score help evoke our emotions; and the story moves along at just the right pace.
But guess what I love the most about Brooklyn? It reminds me of classic movie gems from the past -- you know, the ones that emphasized character development and good storytelling. Don’t miss this one, folks.
(Released by Fox Searchlight and rated “PG-13” for a scene of sexuality and brief strong language.)
For more information about Brooklyn, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.