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.
A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.
In late 1951, Eilis Lacey, a young Irish girl, emigrates to Brooklyn. Sponsored by Father Flood, a priest from her native town Enniscorthy, she is assured to find a full-time job there. But the early days are tough, seasickness being soon replaced by loneliness and homesickness, two feelings all the more acutely felt by Eilis for having had to leave behind her widowed mother and her dear sister Rose. She nevertheless little by little manages to find her footing by adapting to her job as a salesgirl, by studying bookkeeping at Brooklyn College as well as with a little help from both Father Flood and Mrs. Kehoe, the owner of the boarding school she now lives in. And not only does graduation follow but love shows its face in Tony, an Italian-American plumber, full of adoration and respect for her. They end up marrying, although keeping the thing secret. It is at that point that tragedy strikes inciting Eilis to return to Enniscorthy to support her mother morally. And there a strange ... Written by
Sweet little love story of an Irish lass who comes to America circa 1950. She leaves her home in Enniscorthy (Co. Wexford) and comes to seek fame and fortune - and maybe a 'fella' - in Brooklyn. Subsequent events draw her back to Enniscorthy, and then back to Brooklyn. In between we come to know Eilis (pronounced Ailish) Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) quite well because it is her picture, and she is in nearly every scene. She changes from a homesick immigrant to a self-assured woman in the course of the picture, and Ronan's characterization is terrific.
Along the way she meets Tony Fiorello, played by Emory Cohen in a role apparently underplayed so as not to upstage the main character. He comes from a big Italian family but is not a stereotypical Italian; he is barely audible and very subdued. Perhaps the best and most humorous scenes take place at dinnertime in Mrs. Kehoe's boarding house for Irish immigrant girls. Played by Julie Walters, she rides herd on her catty boarders and uses religious metaphors to put them in their place.
"Brooklyn" is a movie for grown-ups, an independent film in a sea of Hollywood schlock. It is a likable movie with a lot of heart and solid acting down to the smallest role. It is not a sprawling saga but a nice little movie, and I have only sketched a few instances. Many reviewers summarize the whole picture, but the overall tenor of the picture gives the moviegoer a rooting interest and a sense of the resiliency of the human spirit, as well as an illustration of the innate decency and goodness of Eilis Lacey.
P.S. Those hoping to see scenes of Brooklyn neighborhoods will be disappointed; the picture was filmed in Canada and Ireland.
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