‘Brooklyn’: Simple love story shines


The past few months have been filled with many record-breaking movies. From the conclusion epic to the “Hunger Games” series “Mockingjay – Part 2” to the newest installment of the massively successful “Star Wars” films, it seems that the majority of movie goers flock to the big screen only to see these million dollar box office hits. However, often nestled in between the blockbusters are smaller movies, beckoning with potential, hiding in plain sight. One of these hidden gems playing right now is John Crowley’s “Brooklyn.” The film is based off of the 2009 novel of the same name by Irish author Colm Tóibín. “Brooklyn” follows a young woman Eilis from Ireland, and the ups and downs of her immigration to United States during the 1950s. Eilis finds herself in Brooklyn, New York, a popular spot for many Irish immigrants to live. Eilis’s adjustment to the U.S. is not without a strong deal of homesickness and culture shock, but once Eilis falls in love with an Italian man named Tony (Emory Cohen) her worries seem to fade away. However, shocking news from home sends her back to Ireland where she meets a charming Irish man, Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson). Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives and loves within them.

All of the elements in “Brooklyn” perfectly fit together to make this small, simple movie a beautiful story that notably stands out among the movie lineup this season. There could not have been a more perfect cast for this movie. The immensely talented Saoirse Ronan shines as the young Eilis. The Academy-Award nominated actress has steadily been making her mark in the industry since her breakout role in “Atonement.” “Brooklyn” may be her best performance yet. Ronan brings Eilis’s story to life. She perfectly captures moments of homesickness, joy, and pain, allowing you to relate her experiences to similar moments in your own life. It is no doubt that Ronan’s Irish background helped her identify with the character of Eilis. Another standout cast member is Emory Cohen. Cohen is relatively new to the big screen, but you would never know it. He plays Eilis’s Italian-American love interest, Tony. Eilis meets Tony at an Irish mixer put on by a local Irish priest. Tony spots Eilis from across the room and gives her a loving look that will make you weak at the knees. He asks her to dance and bashfully admits to her that he likes to attend these events because he loves Irish girls. From then on, Tony woos Eilis in a way that will make you nostalgic for the old school, traditional chivalry that is often missing in today’s dating scene. Cohen’s performance will truly melt your heart. His character’s pure, sweet romance with Eilis is authentic and will have you yearning for the same thing.

Domhnall Gleeson does a marvelous job playing Jim Farrell, who is the competition against Tony for Eilis’s heart when she returns to Ireland. Gleeson gives his character Jim enough charm and comfort that makes Eilis question her relationship with Tony.

Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters complete the rest of the talented cast. Broadbent plays an Irish priest who helps provide for Eilis in America, and Walters plays Mrs. Madge Kehoe, the spirited and strict watchdog of Eilis’s boarding house. They both capture the heart and soul of the Irish culture making Eilis constantly longing for home her first few months in Brooklyn.

The cinematography also perfectly captures the spirit and elegance of the 1950s. Lingering shots of Eilis walking home in the snow, looking out at the sea on the boat ride over, and strolling along the Irish coast bring the story to life in a beautiful, subtle way.

“Brooklyn” is a charming, small film that is luminescent.  This tale of romance and coming-of-age fights against all the clichés that appear often in these genres. Yes, this movie is not a grand, extraordinary epic, but it is an enchanting film that is a refreshing break from all the flashy films out today. The superb cast and endearing script make “Brooklyn” a wonderful, sweet story that is a must-see.

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