Oscar nominated film Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan, is a breathtakingly beautiful love story. Eilis Lacey (Ronan) is stuck between her love of two counties and two men, yearning to find a place where she feels like she belongs.
Eilis lives in a small town in Ireland with her widowed mother and her sister Rose where there is no work or prospects for her future. Rose (Fiona Glascott) arranges for Eilis to sail to Brooklyn where Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) has found her work in the department store and a home in the boarding house run by the God-fearing Madge Kehoe (Julie Walters). As Eilis begins her life in Brooklyn, loneliness overcomes her and she becomes incredibly homesick, missing her family and Ireland. But when Eilis meets Anthony “Tony” Fiorello at the Church dance on a Saturday night, her life fills with light and the gloomy homesickness lifts as she begins to build a new home for herself. That is, until a tragedy back home, brings her back to Ireland where her new life collides with her old one and Eilis is forced to pick between them.
Brooklyn is a testament to the brilliance that can only come from a well written screenplay. Nick Hornby’s adaption of Colm Tóibín’s novel is flawless, with strong female characters and this kind of incredible comedy that comes from the most unlikely people. It’s not just the characters or the story though, it’s the actors. Saoirse Ronan is captivating as we go on this journey of self-discovery, love, and loss with her. Not to mention the group of girls living together in the boarding house, who are hilarious as they try to find husbands. In fact, the dinners at Madge Kehoe’s house are probably the funniest parts of a film littered with comedic moments that are a breath of fresh air amongst a sometimes heartbreaking story.
It’s not just the screenplay though, the staging, costuming and general feel of Brooklyn added to the mix make it stand out. Eilis always looks out of place in Brooklyn, she stands out from the crowds with her clothing setting her apart from everyone else. But as she becomes before accustomed to the city, and begins to feel at home, everything about her changes. This kind of transition helps the audience feel the changes in the character as much as we see it. We notice her fitting into the world around her that little bit more. And when she goes back to Ireland, she stands out from the crowd again, foreshadowing her future a little.
Brooklyn is by far, one of the best films I’ve seen in the last twelve months. It takes you on a whirlwind adventure from start to finish with heartbreak, love, and loss tugging at your heart strings. With such a brilliant screenplay and incredible cast, Brooklyn will have you wrapped up in every word, pull you through every moment, and make you feel so many different emotions it’s almost unfair.