BROOKLYN tells the story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. From Fox Searchlight Website.
Click through for my full review.
Jim Broadbent's character is one of the more prominent and important figures in the life of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), but our moments with Broadbent's Father Flood are few and far between. This element of lacking more moments of importance really make Brooklyn just a good film and not one of the year's best. Saoirse Ronan is a complete fulfilled character and completely will pull you in, but it's the lack of completion in the rest of the cast that makes this film not hard hitting enough.
Love is obviously the main emotion you are meant to feel in the story. We do get cute adorable moments that lead up to Eilis falling for Emory Cohen's Tony. But everything comes so easily and quickly. Tony notices her, tony makes all the moves, tony does all the plotting of what to do. Tony impacts the movement and pace of the story so much more than Eilis that you question why? Are we not here to see a young girl become woman through the hardships of moving to a brand new world by herself. Instead all of her movement revolves around Tony. The love itself seems to fake and easy to be honest and real. You question does this guy really win this particular girl, why is he so into her? Now when an unexpected death pulls her back to Ireland, the really intriguing story begins.
Her journey back to Ireland isn't just about her testing her love with this new beau in Domhnall Gleeson's Jim Farrell, but it's about the majestic nature of Ireland itself. The visual touches by cinematographer Yves Belanger are the highlight of the film, next to the beauty of Saorise we get to see New York and Ireland in the 50's with all it's glory. The film has all the right visual touches to make it look amazing. The costumes, the recreation of the famous buildings, the cars and all of the 1950's feel are completely present and beautifully done. The artistic design behind the film should garner much praise and potential awards. One of the best looking films of the year.
Another saving grace for the film is it's quirky sense of humor, especially showcased in the scene stealing performance of Mrs Kehoe by Julie Walters. Honestly, Mrs. Kehoe's life story might have made for an amazing movie in its self. Along with Broadbent's Father Flood we just don't get enough of Mrs Kehoe for her to be a truly impactful character. We spend time with cheesy moments of learning to eat spaghetti rather than heartfelt exchanges with characters who have survived in the new world. Brooklyn is a very unrealistic and honest portrayal of what it must have been like to completely uproot your life and start with nothing in a new scary world. Eilis's journey is to easy and lacks real conflict to make it believable. Even when she must decide between staying in Ireland with Jim Farrell or go back to Brooklyn to be with Tony, she makes the choice in one solitary moment of anger. It was just hard to not think this is to sappy and cheesy to be hardhitting.
In the end, Brooklyn is a solid step up in the right direction of Director John Crowley. Overall though the story lacks true depth and has no real peril that seems strong enough to really effect our lovely lead actress. There are great performances from Ronan, Gleeson, the veterans in Walters and Broadbent and even a really powerful go from Fiona Glascott who plays Eilis sister Rose. The costumes, the production and art design along with the stellar cinematography really make the film look incredible. A worthy film to see that has more heart than the blockbusters like Spectre or Hunger Games, but still not as important a film to see as Spotlight, Room or Truth are in comparison.
For more information about Fox Searchlight's Broolyn please go, here.