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The main contributor to that surprise is the lead actress, Saoirse Ronan, who plays her role meticulously while also constantly owning the tone of the film. Her delicate and sincere portrayal makes all Eilis's issues, however selfish or insignificant they may seem at first, materialize in your mind, and makes you hope that her pain will somehow ease. Already a one-time Oscar nominee, Ronan reaffirms her acting strength with this exceptional performance. Of all emerging young adult lead actresses, she is likely the most charismatic one in 5 years since Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone.
From start to finish, Eilis feels just like a girl-next-door. That homey feeling extends to Emory Cohen's Tony, an Italian plumber she meets in the New World. With their small height difference, she almost towers over him in her shoes as they stroll outside, which, helped by their natural chemistry, gives them the authenticity of a couple that you might actually know in real life, as opposed to one of Hollywood's ideal.
This film is a remedy for anyone who is losing faith in good filmmaking. It is a splendid reminder that you can tell a great story without resorting to excessive twists and effects. With the remarkable performances from the entire cast, there is hardly a dull minute in the film, and it only gets more interesting towards the end. Speaking of the end, Eilis's tips to a new immigrant she meets at the end still hold very true today. They are not only the best advice that you could ever hear from anyone, but also evidence that America is and has always been the land of opportunity.
It was such a full house, that I ended up staring up at the screen from well outside my usual comfort zone at an awkward angle, too close to the screen, and away from my girlfriend which wasn't a great start, but once the film started I was quickly caught up in the magnificence of Saoirse Ronan's performance and forgot about any of those minor gripes.
Ronan owned this film, from first to last. The storyline itself is a somewhat thin and a follows a well-trodden path but Ronan gives it such heft, and brings the intensity of her character's experience and development full force such that any deficiencies of the story seem inconsequential. It was only after leaving the screening that I really looked back at some of the plot points and realised how contrived it had been in places, but for the time I was watching it, I was simply living it through the potency of the acting. Ronan was brilliant in this, and I struggle to think of any recent performances that can match this for the confidence and sure-footedness that she showed. I think she's in with a good shout for an award or two for this role.
It's worth mentioning Julie Waters as well, who reliably entertains and impresses in all she does. Between her and Saoirse Ronan, they made sure that Brooklyn passed the 6 laugh test – and also the 6 cry test. I laughed, and cried, and laughed as I was crying, and cried as I was laughing pretty much throughout the whole film. A thoroughly enjoyable film, where the central performance takes the audience on an engrossing and emotional trip through an otherwise somewhat slight storyline.
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.
"Brooklyn" tells the story of Ellis Lacey (Ronan), who in 1950s Ireland and New York, has to choose between two men and two countries. One is the charismatic Italian plumber Tony (Emory Cohen) while the other is the reserved yet sensitive Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson). Both are making a case for Ellis' love.
The film is helmed with a strong and undeniable confidence from Saoirse Ronan. Feeling the internal battle just pouring out of her in nearly every sense and every scene, Ronan finds Ellis' struggle and wears it on her sleeve. She doesn't just have fear of choice, she goes through a barrage of emotions, and we actively see the character progress in each milestone that she hits throughout. It begins with the yearning and devastating separation from her family in Ireland, before gradually being brought to a yearn for acceptance in a new city. Her mild but rewarding progression into comfort and confidence is shown before being abruptly ripped away when tragedy strikes. Every instance is felt in Ronan's work, all of which is authentically true and vivaciously real. It's one of her best turns, and further proof that her name will be on our lips for quite some years.
After breaking out with a scene-stealing turn in Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines," Emory Cohen shows his sensitive and charming side of his range, resulting in an equally measured and tantalizing performance to his co-star. Don't sleep on this kid. Domhnall Gleeson's reservations to Jim Farrell is haunting in a role that doesn't call for many words or emotions. You can see the ache and pain in his movements, desperate for love and an overwhelming feeling of being lost. In a few scenes, Julie Walters as Mrs. Kehoe sustains as a surprisingly comic relief in a very serious drama. Her stoic, passive demeanor is such a treat to watch in her scenes of interaction with the girls of the boarding house in which Ellis is staying.
Screenwriter Nick Hornby constructs the story with real life emotion, taking very few short cuts for its characters. He allows Ellis' feelings to make the journey in each instance in which she faces them. The foundation of Tony and Ellis is honest, and rings true as something we'd see in any instance within our own lives. Where he really shines in the connection between Ellis and her family. Thousands of miles away, and with little interaction on screen, you are heartbroken and pulled through the ringer as Ronan exemplifies the loss of her family and determination to see them once again. If there is a chink in Hornby's armor, it's the case he creates for the audience for Ellis to stay in Ireland. Up until the second half of the film, Hornby makes his case for New York, I'd only wish he made a more compelling case for Ireland, giving the audience a more fruitful and difficult dilemma in making their own decision about where Ellis should be.
One must acknowledge how impeccably constructed the film is from head to toe. Crowley assembles a dynamite team behind the camera, who all standout in their own right. Cinematographer Yves Bélanger, with a yellow hue and soft palate, capture the country and the city to stunning results. He frames each scene intimately, capturing the heart and emotion of every word spoken. Production Designer François Séguin and Set Decorator Suzanne Cloutier capture the 50's homes as if plucked from the time period themselves, along with transporting us to a foreign land we can only dream to visit. Odile Dicks- Mireaux's magnetic costume work elevates each performance, allowing the actors to fully engage with their characters and the time. And finally, the music of Michael Brook is a breathtaking swell of emotion, creating moments that will surely bring you to tears.
"Brooklyn" is a damn fine movie, following all the classic beats that we've grown to love about the most timeless love stories. "Brooklyn" will join the ranks of those timeless stories in the coming years. It's a joyful and heart aching film that stands as one of the year's best, and a sure-fire contender for several Academy Awards.
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'Brooklyn' Synopsis: An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a new romance. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
'Brooklyn' is a simple film, told magnificently. Its superior film in all respects. Nick Hornby's Adapted Screenplay captures the Protagonist's coming-of-age tale, with dignity & pathos. I was arrested by the flow of the narrative. John Crowley's Direction is excellent. Cinematography & Editing are sharp, while the Art & Costume Design are fabulous. Michael Brook's Score works.
Performance-Wise: Saoirse Ronan is in great form. The talented actress delivers a Knock-Out Performance as the naive & lovable protagonist. This is the kind of performance awards were invented for. Giving her terrific support are Emory Cohen & Domhnall Gleeson, who enact the men in her lives, proficiently. The Ever-Compelling Jim Broadbent shines in a brief role.
On the whole, 'Brooklyn' is a true winner. Don't miss it!
It's the story of one young girl's awakening, to the world and to herself. She's Eilis and at the start of the film she is moving from her home town of Enniscorthy in Ireland's County Wexford to Brooklyn, a world away on the other side of the Atlantic. She goes at the behest of her sister, Rose so she might have a life that might otherwise be denied her back in Ireland. Homesick at first, she finally finds happiness with a hugely likable and very handsome Italian boy until a family tragedy forces her to return to Ireland.
It's a simple tale, made complex by conflicting emotions and a welter of detail. It's funny and sad and bursting with life. Brooklyn is a place of happiness and giving; Enniscorthy a place of sadness and resentment, though on Eilis' return, a fuller and more confident woman, it too offers the potential for happiness in the form of a new job and, more crucially, a new boyfriend. This return also offers a quandary; should she stay or return to Brooklyn, as well as an ending more tinged with sadness than might appear on the surface.
Nothing about this wonderful film can be faulted, (except perhaps the appalling trailer that's doing the rounds). The period detail is superb, beautifully captured in Yves Belanger's gorgeous cinematography, (the costumes are crucial and they are perfect). Here is a period piece, (it's set in 1952), that could have been made in the year in which it's set and the director, John Crowley, imbues it with great feeling.
Best of all, it's superlatively acted down to the smallest part. Roles that are basically clichés, (the kindly landlady in the US, the parish priest, the bitchy shopkeeper back in Ireland), are beautifully fleshed out by Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Brid Brennan. Still smaller parts, (the girls Eilis encounters on her journey, the Italian boy's family, her mother and sister), are all fully developed by a brilliant cast but it's the three central performances that are truly great and award-worthy.
As the boys who basically change Eilis' life, in one way or another, Emory Cohen in America and Domhnall Gleeson in Ireland, are terrific. Cohen, (a much more handsome, young Rod Steiger), has a real future ahead of him while Gleeson is fast overtaking his father as Ireland's finest actor. And then there is Saoirse Ronan as Eilis; the greatness of her performance lies in as much in what she's not doing or saying as in what she does. She has one of the most expressive faces in the movies and it's in the moments of silence that she really comes into her own and it's one of the great pleasures of recent cinema watching her character develop. Surely she must be a front-runner at this year's Oscars. This is a film both for now and for posterity. See it at all costs.
Needless to say I was an absolute mess but at the same time it gave me so much comfort to hear that beautiful Irish accent and yes the emotional connection now to the movie will mean this review is ridiculously bias.
Brooklyn is a film that has so many elements that relate to so many people around the world and not just Ireland. There's a story about living abroad and finding your place in the world which so many of us have gone through as well as issues about self discovery and growing up, death and grief while tangled in this beautiful world of love and romance.
There are so many elements to this movie that it's really a testament to the beautiful novel written by Colm Toibin and the very brave and brilliant screenplay adapted by Nick Hornby that was able to translate the messages from the novel to the screen. Combine that with the vision of John Crowley and the Oscar worthy performance by the breathtaking Saoirse Ronan, and you just have this brilliant and amazing heart warming movie.
This team didn't just do Ireland proud. They just did proud period. Great work everyone that worked on this film.
Saoirse Ronan is spectacular in her performance as Eilis. She really makes this Sundance hit come alive. It is comforting, as always, to see a film that does not depend on explosions, computer graphics and alien contagions to entertain. There is a deeper pleasure here, one that pulls at mind, spirit, body and heart together. Visuals, story, organization, acting, intriguing characters and more, all come together well.
Based on the novel of the same name, the story of Brooklyn takes place during the early 1950s and follows a young Irish immigrant who leaves her hometown to seek a better future in the titular town of New York where, after struggling for a while, she manages to bring some stability in her life. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes back home, she's forced to confront her past and make a hard choice.
Directed by John Crowley, the plot is divided into three segments with the first one focusing on her inexperience & the difficult time she endures during her initial days in the new country. The second segment covers her life in Brooklyn and the different things she experiences there while the last one brings her back to the place she went away from where circumstances compel her to make a decision that will alter her life.
Written by Nick Hornby, the movie tackles the issues faced by immigrants in a lightweight manner plus the characters are quite compelling. The set pieces are reminiscent of the timeline it tries to depict, Cinematography uses different colour tones for each segment and its bright lighting keeps the ambiance more inviting. Editing unravels the plot in a controlled way and pace is never hurried. Plus, all the period drama elements are nicely handled.
Coming to the performances, Brooklyn packs a fine cast in Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters & others, and all of them are convincing in their given roles. Effortlessly stealing the show is Ronan who carries the whole film all by herself plus her excellent performance is this flick's real highlight. Cohen & Gleeson chip in with fine supporting work while Walters is a treat to watch even if her appearance is quite brief.
On an overall scale, Brooklyn is a heartwarming, captivating & fulfilling movie that's as much about growing up & finding your identity in life as it is about love & relationships, is powered by a strong lead performance from Saoirse Ronan, and addresses its universal themes in a sensible manner. Expertly directed, deftly written, exquisitely photographed, patiently edited, consistently paced & aptly scored, Brooklyn is one of the better films of 2015 and is definitely worth a shot.
She returns to Ireland for a visit after the death of her sister, who was looking after her mother. Despite intending that her return is to be brief she begins to settle back into her previous Irish life.
She reacquaints herself with old friends and a possible romance with a local lad begins to develop. She is torn between fondness for her old life in Ireland with a new romance and the excitement of her new life across the Atlantic with her husband. She is faced with the decision of a lifetime.
Whilst there's nothing new in this story it deals with recurring themes well. A sweet, charming drama with wonderful acting and touching moments.
She marries hastily before returning to Ireland due to a family death. I mean this was set up to be a real love match and then continues to be that at the end; but, she gets involved with another man while in Ireland for absolutely no reason. She refuses to read or respond to her husband's letters, again for no reason. She never tells her mother she's married...you got it --no reason.
She seems to make her decision to return to the US based on the fact that she got busted for being married. But, her reaction to being busted is pure righteous indignation. How does that follow?
She's indifferent and withdrawn from her mother, and she spends her time working and running around while in Ireland for the funeral. Then she abruptly leaves with only a day's notice after being busted. I guess we're not supposed to care about the mother at all. It's only this little sweetie that matters.
Totally unsympathetic main character and false/unmotivated behavior add up to a really lousy movie. That's what this is.
T be honest, I liked "evil" Miss Kelly better than anyone else----at least, she called Ellis on her lies. Though, naturally, Ellis got all sanctimonious about it.
I'd probably give it one star, except the acting was good.
Sweet film, but not anywhere near as profound as it takes itself. The set up was good and Eilis's finding happiness in New York was quite heart-warming.
The warmness and sweetness of the first half of the movie was enhanced by a wonderful performance by Saoirse Ronan. She imbues Eilis with great vulnerability, self-reliance, sweetness and likability.
However, the warmth and potential of the first half is mostly negated by the second half. Here the plot gets clumsy and contrived. A secret that shouldn't have been a secret and an implausible love triangle become the main plot devices of the second half. Instead of being engaged by Eilis's new-found happiness mixed with tragedy we have a convoluted, implausible soap opera unfolding.
Ending was reasonably emotional, but the Ireland sojourn definitely took the shine off the movie.
Every year, the Oscar Best Picture nomination list not only snubs great films, but it leaves open slots that could've been filled with some of the greats. (This year, only eight were nominated, when two more easily could've been found amongst some incredible works.) Additionally, I always see at least one or two WTF choices in which I thought were enormously below average or down right terrible.
Mercifully, this isn't terrible, but it does fit the WTF category. It's just there. Nothing special about this. Sure, I believed the actors, believed they lived in both Brooklyn, New York and Ireland in the 50s. But, there wasn't much substance or depth I haven't seen on a PBS or lifetime movie back in the 90s.
Ellis dreams of leaving her family and life in Ireland to make anew in New York. Slowly – and I use that term very lightly, she does, but then tragedy strikes and she has to choose between the countries.
That's it. That's two hours of Ellis longing for both while blatantly leading everyone on around her. She's not mean about it – heck, she'd have to show some personality trait, that I never saw, to add some zest to this project. But, the truth is: she's the Bella Swan of the 1950s. She just looks longingly everywhere, forgets to smile and men just stumble over backwards to court her.
There are movies for everyone. Maybe if you'd like to spend two hours watching an Irish immigrant making decisions, people gossiping around her and no real payoff, by all means: visit Brooklyn. But, at least, even though it has no shot at all at winning any Oscars, it might be for some older folk to marvel at as they remember the 1950's Brooklyn Irish craze.
Then, about halfway through the movie, tragedy strikes. But it's an event so sudden and so far away that there's really nothing our heroine can--or is expected to--do anything about it. So while it's sad and unfortunate, it's nothing she can act on.
Phew! For a moment there, I thought our protagonist might actually have to do something besides accept the next kind offer of assistance.
Returning to Ireland, she's courted by considerate, handsome fella #2. But to make matters worse. . . she's offered a high-paying office job--doing the very thing she aced all her exams in! Will the tribulations of this woman never end? For a while, I was afraid she might win the lottery.
The worst thing to happen to her is that she gets seasick and is locked out of the head. SHE HAS TO USE A BUCKET. Oh, the humanity! Someone should have told the screenwriter that this is an insufficient problem to build a drama around.
Brooklyn begins in post-World War II Ireland and stars the very attractive Saoirse Ronan as Eilis Lacey, a young woman who decides to make a new life for herself in the United States. Note that good melodramas have good villains but the best Brooklyn can muster is Miss Kelly, the vindictive shopkeeper who later proves to be a significant stumbling block in Eilis' herculean effort to resolve a tough refrain of "torn between two lovers."
Aside from Miss Kelly (who has scant screen time for the main antagonist), most of the other characters Eilis encounters on her journey from Ireland to New York and back, are of the goody two- shoes variety. There is of course her long-suffering mother and sister, a kindly priest who arranges for her passage to New York, a sympathetic fellow female traveler who's already been to the US who helps Eilis with an embarrassing bout of seasickness on the passage over, not to mention the sage advice she imparts on how to "act like an American" upon arrival.
Once Eilis is firmly ensconced at the Irish Boarding house in Brooklyn, she's taken under her wing by the an overbearing landlady, Madge Kehoe, who implies that the other young women staying there are guilty of shameless moral turpitude. We don't learn that much about Eilis' fellow boarders but her boss at her new job initially appears to have some potential as a bitchy martinet—only to morph into a bland do-gooder just as soon as Eilis is called back to Ireland following a family tragedy.
After about a good half hour, when you've already expected the proceedings to have broken into Act II, Eilis finally takes a substantial step into her new world by meeting Beau #1, the ever so perfect "Tony," who is confident that Irish lass Eilis will fit in quite nicely with his cute and perfect Italian family. It soon becomes quite apparent that screenwriter Nick Hornby knows little about Italian-Americans in general so all we learn about Tony is that he loves the Brooklyn Dodgers and works as a plumber (oh yes, he's a wonderful guy to boot!). Meanwhile Eilis's chums back at the boarding house are determined to show Eilis how to fit in with her potential in-laws by teaching her how to twirl spaghetti at the dinner table! There's also Tony's precocious little brother who manages to talk like an adult and hardly like a kid growing up in the early 50s.
Brooklyn is designed to manipulate your emotions at every turn so just imagine if director John Crowley didn't have a maudlin string section to intrude whenever significant plot points reach their fever pitch. The strings are particularly ubiquitous when Eilis returns to Ireland following the death of her sister.
The lack of character development is also heavily apparent when it comes to Beau #2, Jim Farrell. He's basically the Irish version of Tony, another wonderful "nice guy" who eventually learns that slicked back hair is not the way to "get the girl." Oh yes, he also will be inheriting his parents' house when they move to the country (proving that he's obvious good "marriage material").
Finally we arrive at the moment which explains why Brooklyn's antagonist, the meddling Miss Kelly, is only a minor presence in the narrative. The primary antagonist is part of Eilis's internal arc, not external. Poor Eilis cannot choose between Tony and the new world and her homesickness, which also means a new bookkeeping job in Ireland as well as potential nuptials with Jim. The previously alluded to "torn between two lovers" refrain is precisely what fires the passions of all those women (and their male enablers) who fall for such rampant sentiment. For them, Eilis' internal conflict is understandable—even natural, and is proof of her nobility. For me it only underscores Eilis' fickleness and lack of strength of character (and this is perhaps where men and women differ: women see the influence of Eilis' homesickness and attraction for home-bred Jim as emotionally understandable and excusable; men see the broken vow to Tony (after she marries him back in New York), as irrational!
If Brooklyn gets anything right, it's in the excellent production design, which undoubtedly awakens nostalgia for the good old days of the late 40s and early 50s. I like how Brooklyn Heights has been transformed into "halcyon days" replete with those long forgotten street signs and various vehicles of that era, not to mention the fabulous women's dresses and bathing suits (most honorable mention goes to Ms. Ronan's fabulous yellow dress).
Brooklyn's acting ensemble (and notably Ms. Ronan in the lead role) perform well despite the simplistic script. Mr. Hornby can do little in fleshing out his characters but occasionally provides a few twists and turns in the plot (the foreshadowing where Eilis runs into a fellow Irish denizen at the municipal court before she gets married, nicely sets up Miss Kelly's extortion plot, forcing Eilis to admit she was already married in America and subsequently is forced to return!).
As a self-confessed, semi-curmudgeon, Brooklyn is precisely the type of film that immediately gets up my (critical) gander. Let me be clear that I don't dislike every chick flick that's out there—certainly there are certain romantic comedies that have no trouble passing muster. But when a chick flick such as this dips into the realm of the bathetic, all bets are off.
Brooklyn is a well made movie with superb acting. The story however is surprisingly thin, predictable and too slow paced towards the end to hold one's attention. There's simply not enough conflict and the characters are not fleshed out to any satisfying degree, rendering them little more than stereotypes.