Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Brooklyn film review

Went to see this film at Leeds/Bradford Odeon with my friend Aj yesterday.

IMDB says: An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.


In this John Crowley (Intermission, Boy A) directed film, screenplay written by Nick Hornby (About A Boy, An Education) and novel by Colm Tóibín (The Blackwater Lightship, A Priest in the Family), Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, The Grand Budapest Hotel) stars as Eilis who, thanks to her sister Rose (Fiona Glascott: Resident Evil, Apartment 143), travels to America for a new life, leaving her friend Nancy (Eileen O'Higgins: TVs Emma, Enid) and her mother behind.  Thanks to an Irish priest Father Flood (Jim Broadbent: Gangs of New York, Cloud Atlas) who arranges her a job at a department store Bartocci and a place to live with Mrs Keogh (Julie Walters: Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia!) who takes in a lot of Irish girls including friendly Sheila (Nora-Jane Noone: The Descent, Savage) and highly religious Miss McAdam (May O'Driscoll: Ordinary Decent Criminal, The League of Gentleman's Apocalypse), but she still feels homesick and lonely.  To try and help, Father Flood signs her up for an accounting course and asks her to help at the Church feeding the homeless.

When she takes a chance on going to the Irish dance, thanks in part to mean housemates Patty (Emily Bett Rickards: Felicity Smoak of TVs Arrow and The Flash) and Diana (Eve Macklin: Road Kill, 1,000 Times, Good Night), she meets Tony (Emory Cohen: Afterschool, The Place Beyond the Pines) a plumber and Brooklyn local of Italian descent and she soon begins to feel more at home.

Just as she is settling nicely and having passed her first year of accounting, tragedy strikes at home and Eilis has to return to England, but not before Tony has persuaded her to marry him quickly at the Registry Office because he worries that she will not come back.

Still of Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen in Brooklyn (2015)

Once in England her mother goes out of her way to try and make her stay including accepting a wedding invitation from Nancy on her behalf and organising a part-time job at her sisters former place of employ as a book-keeper.  Her friend Nancy also tries to 'help' organising a joint date with her fiancé and his friend Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson: About Time, The Revenant and, of course, Bill Weasley in Harry Potter) and it soon becomes harder and harder to tell the truth about her being married as she slowly builds up a new life in Ireland.  When Jim all but proposes, Eilis must decide which life she truly wants.

Ronan excels in the role and effortlessly takes you on Eilis' journey.  Walters scene-steals in many of her appearances in the film, as expected, yet despite the contrivances of the plot, you want to know what Eilis will do with her life.  For me, the dalliance with Jim was out of character, but maybe explained away by the recent family tragedy, and this is a timely look at the life of an immigrant.  For me the attention to detail in the costumes and beautiful cinematography gave the film a glorious period feel that enhanced the emotions evoked.

Trivia: Ronan was getting a manicure in Dublin when she discovered that she had received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the film. In her rush of excitement, she bought champagne for everyone in the salon.  Rooney Mara was originally cast in the lead role and the film received a standing ovation when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.  The Irish beach scenes were filmed at Curracloe Strand. The location was also used for the filming of the D-Day sequence in Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Still of Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen in Brooklyn (2015)

Tagline: Two countries, two loves, on heart.                                                6.5/10

#BrooklynMovie  #Saoirse Ronan  #Brooklyn

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