Brooklyn (2015) directed by John Crowley, written by Nick Hornby and starring Saiorse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Domhnall Gleeson and Julie Walters marks the first film I have watched in the cinema in 2016. And WOW what a film to kick off my cinema trips for the year! I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening hosted by Womans Day NZ and Bauer Media last night, as the film is just about to be released here in New Zealand. As I stated in my 2016 Most Anticipated List Brooklyn has been top of my to-watch list for a long time so I was thrilled to finally get the chance to see it! It was such a beautiful, compelling and emotional piece of cinema. The film which is set in the 1950’s and based on the book of the same name by Colm Toibin, follows the story of a young woman named Eilis who leaves behind her small hometown in Ireland to emigrate to Brooklyn. At first she struggles to adjust to life in America though in time she learns to love her new life and enjoys some newly-found romance with Italian plumber Tony. Though when disaster strikes back home and Eilis must return she finds her heart torn between two very different places and two very different lives.
The films plot was a relatively simple story yet an incredibly relatable one. It definitely resonated strongly with me particularly Eilis’ experience of losing a family member whilst on the other side of the world and the pain and grief that comes from not being there to say goodbye. Additionally her notion that she couldn’t help feel she wanted to be “an Irish girl in Ireland” made me tear up a little. I’m British and grew up in England before I moved to New Zealand at age 12, now almost 20, I often wonder about my identity. Sometimes I feel a little stuck, whilst I love where I live I still yearn to return to England to be “an English girl in England.”Sometimes I’m not quite sure where is home. I lost my Grandad in 2014 and still to this day wish I had been able to see him just one more time to say goodbye. So I felt I could relate incredibly strongly to this film. I was such an honest and compelling film, completely driven by the characters.
The costuming and set decoration was beautiful yet in such an authentic way. The story didn’t feel like it had had ‘the Hollywood treatment’. I loved the films cyclic nature as it meant you really got to see the evolution of Eilis’ character. Nick Hornby’s writing was fantastic in the way it told us what we needed and nothing more and let Saoirse’s performance fill in the gaps and flesh out the emotions. Her performance was stunning and you could tell this was a character she put her heart in soul into, she is such a subtle yet such a powerful actress. I am definitely rooting for her this awards season! I loved the rest of the cast in their roles Julie Walters was fabulous as always and Emory Cohen was particularly charming as Tony. It was so exciting seeing Emily Bett Rickards on the big screen as Patty, her character along with the other girls at the boarding house bought some much needed humor to Eilis’ story. I think Emily is so talented and whilst i’m content to watch her as Felicity Smoak on the CW’s Arrow forever, I am also excited to see what roles she could possibly take on in both film and television in the future!
Also oh my, I adore the Irish accent, I could listen to it for hours! Overall I adored this film, it is definitely one I would buy on DVD and watch again – 4 out of 5 stars ****.
Let me know if any of y’all have seen it and what you thought?
Until next time – C x