The official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival 2015, this 105 minute long film stars Saoirse Ronan (The Host), Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina) and Emory Cohen (Beneath The Harvest Sky). Penned by Nick Hornby (An Education), it's directed by John Crowley (Closed Circuit). Screening in the last week of October, Brooklyn is a selection of the BBC First British Film Festival 2015.
It's the 1950s and not a lot is happening fast enough for Eilis Lacey who lives with her mother and older sister Rose in Enniscorthy, County Wexford in southeast Ireland. Stuck in a dead-end job at a grocery store, working for a less than pleasant boss (if not downright nasty), she's given a chance to further herself when her sister helps her to migrate to America. The church has arranged everything from the fare to a boarding house to stay in and a job in a glamorous department store.
Her new beginning in Brooklyn, New York sees her polite, quiet and rather homesick, wishing she was an Irish girl in Ireland and not an Irish girl in New York. Over time with the influences of the other girls at the boarding house, she comes out of her shell. When she meets Tony a young Italian man who is smitten from the onset, life in Brooklyn becomes more bearable. It begins to feel like home as she and Tony become a couple after a whirlwind romance. However, after some devastating news, she's to return to Ireland to see to her mother.
Now that she's seen a bit more of the world, she sees Ireland through different eyes and can now appreciate life isn't so bad there after all. She embraces all the familiarities of home and being with friends. Over time she is lulled into entertaining thoughts of remaining in Ireland, while events are being orchestrated to slowly lure her back to remain there forever. She's convinced to stay a little longer for her best friend's wedding and is introduced to Jim. An eligible bachelor and a real catch, he wines and dines Eilis and begins to grow on her. One heart, two loves, can Eilis choose which way to go?
It is a powerful cast indeed, and well played. Domhnall Gleeson has an innocence about him that seems to run across the films I've seen him in i.e. 'Ex Machina' and 'About Time' and I'm rather fond of the roles he's played thus far. Saoirse Ronan puts in a stellar performance and is very convincing as the young homesick immigrant torn between two lives. Newcomer Emory Cohen is cute as a button as the Italian lover and will make a lot of women wish they had a boyfriend that was as adoring, in love with them. Seasoned actors in small roles like Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent to name a couple, add to the storyline, inject a bit of humour and put in some solid performances.
There are a few other funny moments provided, along with the beautiful lilting Irish accents in this gentle movie that comes up with phrases like 'stop being a 'giddy' girl' among others. A way of speaking that's either seldom or no longer heard. It's not unpleasant to look upon the 1950s and older audiences will appreciate and remember those moments of a time gone by. You'll also find a fair few memorable characters in small roles that play a part in the development of the innocent Eilis. All in all a very pleasant movie, if nothing to rave about.