Brooklyn – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

February 8, 2016 by Roz Tarszisz
Read on for article

Films of beloved books don’t always match images invoked by the written word.

Whether you have read the book or not, Brooklyn is a masterpiece and a joy to watch.

Crossing an ocean to find a better future is a life changing experience and signifies the immensity of the journey for potential immigrants.

Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a young woman who leaves her small town in Ireland for a brighter future in 1950s Brooklyn, NY.  Close to her older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), it is hard for her to leave Rose and their widowed mother Mary (Jane Brennan) but there is no future for her in Ireland.

This Irish lass is luckier than most, with a job and respectable place to live lined up, as well as a priest, Father  Flood (Jim Broadbent) to watch over her.   It takes time to settle down and her pale, woebegone face betrays how deep runs her homesickness.

Working in an upmarket department store, she lives in a boarding house run by Mrs (Ma)  Kehoe (Julie Walters) who attempts to instil a sense of decency into all the young women living under her charge.

Father Flood arranges for Eilis to take evening book-keeping classes and slowly life starts to improve. She attends a local dance with other lodgers and meets Italian-American plumber, Tony (Emory Cohen) and he lifts Eilis out of her doldrums with his patient courtship.  Tony is so adorable,  I quite fell for him myself.

Invited to Tony’s home to meet his family, the two liveliest lodgers first give her a practical lesson on eating spaghetti. Things are looking up; she does well in her classes and starts to fall for Tony.

But when tragedy strikes she returns home temporarily.  Eilis is a different person to the shy girl who left and along with her new confidence and bright clothing, acquires another ardent admirer, Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) who would be quite a catch and a step-up the social ladder.

When it is time to return to Brooklyn, Eilis is torn between the promise of a different and improved life at home and the challenge of returning to the New World.

It is not a complicated story but it rings true and not a false note is struck. Ronan is wonderful.  Script, direction and performances do justice to the novel and the story itself.

5/5 Rated M 112mins  Released February 11

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters,

Directed by John Crowley

Screenplay by Nick Hornby, based on the novel by Colm Toibin

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