Thursday, December 10, 2015

Movie Review: Brooklyn


The tale of a young Irish girl's immigration to Brooklyn, New York in the 1950s was led by the powerful performance of Saoirse Ronan. This young actress has proven herself in many films but I feel like this is the first movie she has carried on her own. Her maturity shines through and she handled the terrors of homesickness in a brand new country, sorrow, joy, and love as good as any other actress that will be up on the screen this year. 

I had not heard much about this movie and feared the pace would be slow but under John Crowley's direction, the plot moved swiftly depositing Ronan's Eilis in one tough situation after the next. A viewer gets the sense of the tight, cramped spaces of Brooklyn but as she grows more comfortable, we come to see the beauty that makes up the American dream.

The supporting cast also helped this movie along. Jim Broadbent has a small role as an Irish priest who arrange Eilis's immigration and he helps expound on the troubles of the homeless Irish men who were left without jobs after major portions of New York  City were constructed. Emory Cohen plays the young Italian American plumber who falls for Eilis and their romance contains some of the most powerful scenes in the film. Jessica ParĂ© who once played Don Draper's second wife in MadMen had an interesting cameo as a tough, yet supportive shop owner. One of my new favorite actors Domhnall Gleeson adds great chemistry to later scenes as a wealthy Irish suitor.

This movie helps illuminate a different time in America and remind us that we were all once immigrants to this country trying to find our way in a strange land. With recent events, I think this movie would be good to watch to lend a sympathetic eye to newcomers, not just blue-eyed beauties like Saoirse but all people of any race, creed, age, sex, or religion. After all, as this movie shows, this was and still is the promise of America. 

I think Ronan will get a nomination but with powerhouse performances still promised in movies like Room and Carol, I'm not sure she'll take home the trophy despite doing such a great job. Seven out of ten. 

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