Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn

Not in the mood for the stunning violence of The Revenant or the bitter racism of The Hateful Eight? Nor the angst of Carol or The Danish Girl? Nor the special effects weaponry of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Here’s a nice, sweet historical movie about first love, the pains and rewards of immigration, and the choices we make.

Brooklyn (trailer), as directed by John Crowley, with a script by Academy Award nominee Nick Hornby (based on Colm Tóibín’s book of the same name), reminds us that leaving home is a lonely choice, even when it’s the best choice a person has. (And so much harder before email, skype, and budget air fares.)

When clear-eyed Eilis Lacey (played by Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan) leaves Ireland to come to America in the early 1950s, she has no confidence that she’ll ever see Ireland again. In a bit of cross-cultural serendipity, she meets Italian plumber Tony (Emory Cohen), and each is charmed with the other and the cultures they come from. Watching her try to learn to eat spaghetti under the tutelage of her bantering roommates is splashily funny. But when tragedy at home calls Eilis back to Ireland, she does go, despite the length, cost, and difficulty of the journey. Once home, the inducements to stay mount.

Brooklyn—which was also an Academy Award nominee for Best Picture—has moments with “a resonance that extends far beyond its immediate circumstances,” says Glenn Kenny for It’s a beautiful, big-hearted movie that will leave you smiling, Irish eyes or no.

Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 98%; audiences 90%.

Bonus treat: an interview with Colm Tóibín and Alice Walker (The Color Purple) about the translation of their novels into film, including a guide to pronouncing his name.

5 thoughts on “Brooklyn

  1. They are showing the movie “Brooklyn” tomorrow night where I live. After reading your words, how can I not! Thanks, Vicki!

  2. Victoria, beautifully written review of a beautiful film Of the many fine films this season, I believe Brooklyn may be my favorite. And you have captured the many reasons in your review. “Big-hearted” may capture the essence of this movie best. Loved it! While I am not Irish and did not emigrate from Ireland, my father (at age 6) and all of my grandparents were immigrants to America at the turn of the last century. This film brings home for me the poignancy of their decision and the difficult journey that they made to arrive in the “new country” and offer a better life for their children. I highly recommend it this film to anyone who has a heart!

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