Indie Film Review “Brooklyn”

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First, the Recap:

When being away from the familiar surroundings of family, friends, and the life we have always known and been comfortable with, it is only natural to experience the heartache of homesickness. While we strive to establish a new way to exist within the place now inhabited, the reminders of home and those we left behind still weigh heavily on the soul. And when that distance is a literal ocean away, that loss of normalcy seems all the much greater. For Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a beautiful, smart, small town Irish girl, working a thankless job, being doted on by older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) and her mother Mary (Jane Brennan), and spending time with best friend Nancy (Eileen O’Higgins) is normal life.

But when opportunity arises to move to America, Eilis takes on the challenge to endure the journey across the sea and land a place in Brooklyn, New York at an Irish boarding house for girls, run by humorously obstinate landlady Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters). Given work at a local city department store, Eilis’ longing for Ireland still pulls heavily at her, despite the loose friendships with the other girls in the home. Attending a sponsored dance event presents a meeting with a young Italian man, Tony (Emory Cohen), and her view on being in Brooklyn begins to slowly change. However, when a painful circumstance causes a return to Ireland, the life path in her homeland suddenly starts coming together, including a new suitor, Jim (Domhnall Gleeson).

Suddenly faced with the reality of two worlds she’s now immersed in, decisions and their ramifications become the focus of Eilis’ thoughts and actions.

Next, my Mind:

Based on the Colm Toibin novel of the same name, director John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” is an exquisite period piece, written beautifully, and masterfully providing a poignant, moving, and deeply realistic picture of what it is to leave home behind to find new and ideally exciting opportunity, yet also illustrating the emotional toll distance and separation from what’s familiar can take. Gorgeous cinematography paints the early 1950’s era the narrative is based in to a “T”, showcasing a land of new hopes the United States represented to so many immigrants, and the communities in which these individuals were able to gravitate to.

In this reviewer’s opinion, Saoirse Ronan is one of the most underrated actresses of the new generation. This independent film effort once again allows her to flourish, providing such a rooted yet dramatically potent, subdued yet emotionally charged performance that commands attention with her ethereal presence on screen, but with such an relatable and often heart-wrenching sincerity. Every joy, every pain is felt watching her bring Eilis and her journey to life. Standout supporting roles life Walters’ Mrs. Kehoe and Cohen’s believably love-struck suitor Tony bring an additional layer of sentiment to the story, among others including Gleeson, Brennan, O’Higgins, and more.

In total, “Brooklyn” is the type of indie release that garners awards consideration and provides us as the viewer with a story that moves the heart, enriches the soul, and makes us look at our own concepts of what we call home.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!



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