Film Review: Brooklyn

brooklyn

8/10
Director: John Crowley
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters

We open in Enniscorthy, Ireland, where Eilis Lacey (Ronan) is ‘away to America’, a journey orchestrated by sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) enabling Eilis to do what she cannot and escape the limiting prospects of their hometown. Lonely and bewildered, Eilis struggles at first but with the comically dubious assistance of landlady Miss Kehoe (Walters on top matriarchal form) and her fellow boarders, she adapts. Then – as always -she meets a boy; Tony Fiorello is sweetly earnest and entirely besotted, and a tender courtship unfurls between them. When a tragic turn of events brings her back to Enniscorthy and a better version of everything she left, she is forced to choose between the life she always hoped she would have and the life she has created.

Adapted from Colm Tóibíns 2009 novel of the same name, Brooklyn was one of the biggest deals ever to emerge from Sundance, premiering a relative unheard of and emerging with a $9 million distribution deal. Ronans’ performance is captivating, bringing a complexity and depth to Eilis that the film could have sunk without, and the romance between her and Tony is solidly authentic yet impossibly fragile. Striking chords as both a coming-of-age story and an émigré journey, exploration of the relationship between sense of self and sense of place is where Brooklyn really hits home.

Originally published in Crack Magazine

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