Brooklyn, a movie review

MV5BMzE4MDk5NzEyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDM4NDA3NjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, was released in November, 2015 in the USA, and is based on the book of the same name by Colm Tóibín.  It is a very tender story of an inexperienced young lady, Eilis (played by Saoirse Ronan) from a small town in Wexford County, Ireland.  She has a part time job Sundays in a shop run by a sharp-tongued, busybody who caters to her wealthy customers and dresses down the poorer ones. Eilis (pronounced a’ lis) lives with her mother and an older sister, Rose, a bookkeeper who supports the family.  Through Rose, Eilis is able to go to Brooklyn, NY, where an Irish priest there has arranged a job and lodgings for her.  She’s brave enough to want to go, to have a new life, and new opportunities, but she’s also afraid of the unknown.  She’s a quiet, introspective girl and is green in more ways than one.  Her cabin mate on the ocean liner helps her learn how to get along, but once in America, she’s on her own again.

EilisEilis’ job is in a very upscale store and she is terrified at first.  She makes no friends and the letters she receives from home make her dreadfully homesick.  The priest steps in again, and enrolls her in night classes in bookkeeping 3 evenings a week.  On Saturday evenings, she goes to the parish dance.  But it isn’t until she meets a young Italian man, Tony (played by Emory Cohen) at one of those very same Saturday dances that she starts enjoying her new life, gaining confidence in her job, her studies, and her own self-realization.

brooklyn-mv-1When her sister dies suddenly, Eilis leaves to help her mother but promises Tony that she will return in a month.  For awhile, Eilis is caught up in the world she thought she had left behind which shows much more interest in her now that she has changed; she hesitates to write back to Tony or set the date to take the ship back to Brooklyn.  The confidence she has gained with her success in Brooklyn quickly finds her attracting the town’s most eligible bachelor (Domhnall Gleeson), and puts her in danger of losing her moral compass.

000b1ce6-630Ronan is a wonderful actress (five major award nominations for best actress 2016) and, from beginning to end, plays Eilis compellingly as she changes from the shy naive immigrant coming through Ellis Island to the competent sales clerk, sought-after bookkeeper, and confident young woman in love.  Emory is a very engaging and sympathetic Tony, the American love interest, obviously head-over-heels in love with Eilis. Crowley and the movie received several nominations as well.  I haven’t read the book but I gather from other reviews I’ve seen that the movie is pretty true to Tóibín’s work.  It is a classic study of the life of a young Irish immigrant, and a coming of age/love story all in one.  Very enjoyable. * * * * *



About mysm2000

Having taught elementary school for more than 25 years and been involved in many amazing technology and curriculum projects, I find I've developed a myriad of interests based on literature I've read and music I've heard. I've followed The Wright Three to Chicago, Ansel Adams to Colorado, The Kon Tiki Expedition to Easter Island, Simon & Garfunkel lyrics to New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright to Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, and have only just begun.
This entry was posted in Actor, Actress, Adult Book, Director, Drama, Movie, Opinion, Romance, Romance and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Brooklyn, a movie review

  1. Annette says:

    I loved Ronan in this role too! My only qualm with the movie came at the end – I couldn’t have left my mother behind. She would have had to emigrate with me!


    • mysm2000 says:

      I agree although I think she’d be more comfortable with what she’s been used to her whole life. And Eilis had to go back — everything she’d gained had come through her experiences and opportunities in Brooklyn. I think she realized her heart was truly there.


  2. I struggled with the book, but loved the movie. I found the novel meandered a bit but maybe that might have been the intentions of the author. Saoirse Ronan played her part so true to the book’s character, it was remarkable acting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sydneyeditor1 says:

    This little gem got an Oscar nod! I’m so pleased it did, I’m looking forward to watching it soon.


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