Director: John Crowley
Writer: Nick Hornby
Based on: Colm Tóibín‘s novel
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Fiona Glascott, Jane Brennan, Julie Walters, Emily Bett Rickards, Jim Broadbent
Seen on: 26.1.2016
Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) lives in a small Irish town with her mother Mary (Jane Brennan) and her sister Rose (Fiona Glascott). But Eilis has the chance to get of there and start a new life in the USA, which is exactly what she does. With the help of an acquainted priest (Jim Broadbent) who already lives abroad, she makes her way to New York where she builds a new life for herself. But when she is called back to Ireland, she will have to decide which way she wants her life to go.
Brooklyn was one of those films that is simply extremely nice to watch and enjoy. It hits all the right emotional buttons in a not exactly subtle, but unobtrusive way and pretty much everybody in it is simply adorable.
Brooklyn features the probably most symbolic love triangle in the long and strained history of love triangles. But in this case, I didn’t even mind that it was yet again the story of a girl caught between two guys. Because it was not the guys who were vying for her attention, locked in eternal competition with each other and not in the least bit interested in what Eilis has actually to say or to think. It was all about the decision Eilis has to make for herself. Plus, we get to know Eilis first before any guy is actually on the horizon.
It also helps that both guys are simply the sweetest and cutest guys on earth. When Tony (Emory Cohen) is introduced, I felt like I needed to squeeze something (possibly my heart) because he is everything adorable. When Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) shows up, on the other hand, it is a slower, calmer onset of adorability, but it is no less intense. So I could definitely feel with Eilis and her difficulty to decide what and who she wants.
The film is a little heavy-handed sometimes with its mirror images and its symbolism. But fortunately the film’s core is Eilis who is a wonderful character who simply navigates between all that meaningful imagery and doesn’t become overly symbolic herself, thus providing the much needed grounding for the film to work and the story to have heart. Saiorse Ronan shines in the role and really brings Eilis to life.
I haven’t read the novel this is based on (though I really would like to now), so I don’t know how much groundwork was already laid out, but Crowley and Hornby certainly managed to give us an optimistic and philanthropic film – a perspective that isn’t free from kitsch, but completely free of cynicism. A welcome counterweight to many current films that are believed to be more true just because they’re more cynical.