Sometimes a movie doesn’t have to jump up and scream in your face to get your attention. There are rare occasions when a simple but well told story will reach in and grab your heart, without you even noticing it. This is the case for Brooklyn, which is based on the popular novel by Colm Toibin.
Saoirse Ronan stars as Ellis, a young Irish girl who moves to America when her hopes for a better life dry up at home. She ships off with the financial and emotional support of her sister but once at sea, Ellis realizes for the first time in her life, just how completely alone she is.
Brooklyn is proof that I’ve seen way too many movies because as I watched it, I kept waiting for something awful to happen. When was the typhoon or dangerous man going to show up? What were the insurmountable odds that Ellis would have to face? That’s not the case for Brooklyn though. Ellis finds a home and friends, and even starts a delicate but wonderfully romantic relationship. There are some unpleasant surprises along the way, and the expected ups and downs of life but Brooklyn never pulls the rug out from under you. It mirrors life itself, which is exactly why it pulls you in.
Ronan’s performance will probably receive an Oscar nomination because she says volumes with her crystal-clear eyes. Julie Walters is adorable as Ellis’ strict landlady, who has no time for nonsense or sacrilege. Jim Broadbent shines as the trustworthy priest Ellis leans on and I’m embarassed to admit that I swooned over her sweetheart Tony (played by Emory Cohen).
Everything about Brooklyn has the patina and romance of an old photo you find in your Grandmother’s dresser. It takes us back to a time when things seemed safer and even though life wasn’t perfect, it was always full of hope. –B+