With the release of director John Crowley’s new film Brooklyn, he may have made the crowning achievement in his twelve year feature film career. Even more, he may have given star Saoirse Ronan her second Academy Award worthy role of her career. Engrossed in the story, it was really hard not to fall in love with Ronan’s character Eilis Lacey in this delightful and beautiful film from screenwriter Nick Hornby.
The film is a tale of change, discovery and the need to find something you can call home. Eilis Lacey is a young Irish woman in 1950s Ireland, who’s sister Rose has arranged for her to move to Brooklyn in the hopes of a chance at a better future. Leaving behind everything she knows, Eilis embarks on her voyage across the sea to an unknown experience.
She stays in Brooklyn at a boarding house run by Mrs. Kehoe, played hilariously by the wonderful Julie Walters, and works at a high end department store at the cosmetics counter. Homesickness raises it’s ugly head, making Eilis question what she’s doing so far from home. But change is on the horizon.
While attending a local Irish dance, Eilis meets Tony (Emory Cohen), a young Italian plumber, and the two begin dating and the relationship starts getting very deep and serious. Eilis is informed of a family problem back in Ireland and ends up having to go back to Ireland. Is it for a visit or is it for good? What will happen to this budding romance?
John Crowley and Nick Hornby craft such a beautiful and enrapturing story that I felt like I had a goofy little smile on my face the whole film. Cohen’s performance as Eilis’ beau is so endearing and heartwarming that you just have to root for him no matter what. It’s really refreshing to see this simple tale of young love with out anything feeling heavy handed or glossy.
Under the meticulous eye of cinematographer Yves Bélanger, who was responsible for the last few Jean-Marc Vallée films as well as Xavier Dolan, this film is a constant feast for the eyes, the color palate brightly shining in Brooklyn and contrastingly drab in Ireland. This doesn’t undersell the look of Ireland, which is just as interesting in it’s filmed approach.
I think this is the perfect film to hit theaters near the end of this year. It’s story flow is quick to get into and Saoirse Ronan is very loveable as our lead. Ronan is continuing a rise to the top of the A list with smart choices and a strong mind towards growing in her profession. If she doesn’t earn a golden statue for this, there surely will be another in her future. She’s one of the best young stars working today.
If you’re looking for a feel good film that will leave you enlightened and optimistic at the end, then Brooklyn is the film for you. It’s not often that the perfect date movie comes along and doesn’t make you want to swallow your head to avoid it and Brooklyn meets all these requirements. I loved this one, a four and a half out of five.