My maternal grandparents immigrated to America in the late 1800’s from Denmark and Norway. My interest in Brooklyn stemmed from having such close relatives make that trip across the Atlantic with the hope of an opportunity for a better life.
Brooklyn tells the tale of Eilis, a young Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan in an Academy Award nominated performance) coming to America fully a half century later than my ancestors immigrated, but I figured some of the same issues they faced would be depicted.
Brooklyn has also been nominated for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards. It is rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality and brief strong language.
It wasn’t until after I had seen the film and began to do research for my review that I found I had seen Saoirse Ronan in three other films: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Host (previously reviewed on my blog; search for it by entering the name of the movie in the search engine above on this page), and The Way Back. I enjoyed her characters in all of those other films, and since I never connected any of these four performances to the same woman, I would say she is adept at taking on different characters without being recognizable as herself. Of course, that may change as her list of movies grows and then she may become as easily recognizable as other accomplished actresses.
Back to Brooklyn. Another quiet film, set in the 1950’s where one’s personal conduct is always proper, especially for young ladies. Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) is a kindly priest who helps Eilis adjust to life in America. She meets Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) of Italian descent, and begins to blossom and not be as homesick as their friendship and love develops. This relationship seemed very natural as that’s what happened here; the children of immigrants from different countries meet and fall in love and we get the melting pot we are today in America.
Eilis needs to return to Ireland suddenly, and finds that things have changed. Or is it that she has changed? Once in Ireland, Eilis begins to realize who she is: a good worker, educated in her trade as a bookkeeper, and a confident and ultimately loyal young woman. The suspense grows as we wonder along with Eilis about returning to America versus remaining in Ireland.
Seeing the city of Brooklyn portrayed from a 1950’s point of view made the movie charming and interesting, particularly the scenes in the department store where Eilis has her first job. I recommend this film. It’s visually appealing, and a good story from a woman’s point of view, something we don’t get that often in films. Take your daughters or your mothers with you for an afternoon matinee and then go have a nice leisurely dinner to talk about it.
Let me know what you think of the films you see and about my reviews. You can leave your comments below. Happy movie going!