BROOKLYN (director: John Crowley; screenwriters: Nick Hornby/novel by Colm Toibin; cinematographer: Yves Belanger; editor: Jake Roberts; music: Michael Brook; cast: Saoirse Ronan (Eilis Lacey), Domhnall Gleeson (Jim Farrell), Emory Cohen (Tony), Jim Broadbent (Father Flood), Julie Walters (Mrs. Kehoe), Jessica Pare (Miss Fortini), Eve Macklin (Diana), Brid Brennan (Miss Kelly), Fiona Glascott (Rose), Jane Brennan (Mary Lacey), Nora-Jane Noone (Sheila), Jenn Murray (Dolores), Eva Birthistle (Georgina), Michael Zegen (Maurizio), Matt Gynn (Priest), Emily Bett Rickards (Patty), Eileen O’Higgins (Nancy); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Amanda Posey; Fox Searchlight; 2015-U.K.-Canada-Ireland)
“It’s a fine film for mainstream viewers seeking quality escapist entertainment.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A lovely old-fashioned American immigrant love story set in 1952. John Crowley(“Is Anybody There”/”Closed Circuit”/”Boy A”) directs, displaying many fine touches for a period drama and a keen sense of keeping it emotionally charged. It’s based on the well-written best selling novel by Colm Toibin. The script is superbly written by Nick Hornby, which should remind viewers of the serious straight-forward solid oldie dramas the studios used to regularly put out. It tells about a young woman torn between life and love in her native Ireland and her new home in Brooklyn.
The 21-year-old Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) works as a browbeaten market assistant in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, in southeast Ireland (home of the novelist). Eilis is bored and bemused by her provincial life in Ireland, and sees no future there. Her bookkeeper older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) wants her to have a better life, and pays for her passage to America. Sadly leaving behind her long-time best friend Nancy (Eileen O’Higgins), her mother (Jane Brennan) and older sister, she relocates to Brooklyn and is lonely and homesick. The sympathetic Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) gets her lodging in a Brooklyn rooming house run by the acerbic and irascible landlady Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters) and a decent job in a department store. The only thing wrong is that she has a disagreeable relationship with her work superior Miss Fortini (Jessica Paré).
Eilis soon finds romance with a nice guy working-class Italian-American named Tony (Emory Cohen) and marries the diehard Dodgers fan. Circumstances force her to make a lengthy visit back to her home in Ireland, where her widowed mom is unaware that she is married. Mom encourages her to wed the handsome wealthy local scion Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson). The conflict is made difficult in that he would be an upgrade in social status for our flustered by ambitious heroine, who is looking for the good life and wondering if she would fit in better now in the old country.
It’s a fine film for mainstream viewers seeking escapist entertainment, that magnificently captures the period’s time, place. It’s also wonderfully filled with realized characters..
REVIEWED ON 11/18/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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