FILM REVIEW: Brooklyn

 

Moving from Ireland to New York, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), is in search of a better life.

Her opportunities in a small town on the Emerald Isle are limited to say the least and despite the wrench of leaving behind her mother and in particular her sister, Rose, it seems the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

That’s not to say that Eilis is in any way confident or ready to grab the bull of opportunity by the horns. She isn’t.

It will prove to be an unwelcome introduction to the joys of both extended sea and home sickness, leaving her in much doubt as to the wisdom of her actions.

As with most things in life though, time proves to be the all important ingredient and on settling in at Mrs Kehoe’s Irish boarding house, securing employment, enrolling on a book-keeping course thanks to the kindly Father Flood, (Jim Broadbent), and most importantly of all, making the acquaintance of a charming young Italian/American lad by the name of Tony (Emory Cohen), her American experience improves immeasurably.

Happiness flows freely from here for Eilis.

Nothing lasts forever of course and on receiving some sad news from home, Eilis agrees to return to Ireland for a short break, unprepared for the life that now awaits her there and  for the difficult choices that she must now make.

Brooklyn is a very charming film on a number of levels particularly the  collective performances which are natural and believable whilst being genuinely amusing, soulful and poignant; effortlessly drawing empathy from the viewer.

Julie Walters’ role as the matronly Mrs Kehoe, is a particular highlight; offering her worldly wisdom at meal times to the amusement of the collection of young ladies that inhabit her boarding house. An excellent piece of casting if ever there was one.

In many ways, Brooklyn tips its hat to the age old adage that ‘home is where the heart is’ – although this shouldn’t lead one into a false sense of expectation, for as much as Brooklyn hints at being a conventional love story, if you’re expecting everything to be tied up neatly with a pretty bow, think again. That premise is ultimately a little wide of the mark.

What we can be sure about though is that Brooklyn is a very well realised and above all very likeable film.

It’s visually sumptuous with its soft, pastel colours reflecting the palette of the time, conjuring up an almost dreamy, ethereal quality to what ultimately is a lovely, warm-hearted slice of cinematic escapism.

Highly recommended

Incidentally, is it just me or did Emory Cohen remind anyone else of 1980s slippery brat-pack star, Andrew McCarthy? Everything from the look to the mannerisms.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us Mr McCarthy?

 

 

 

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