SLIDER

Brooklyn (2016)

Brooklyn

Rare as it is for quality period drama films to appear at the U.S box office, when they show up, it’s nearly guaranteed I’ll be noticing them. Such was the case with last year’s Brooklyn. Though I didn’t know much about it at the time (whether or not critics liked it or how the script ended things) I didn’t seem to care about the details. I was going to see this one no matter what. Now I finally have, there are, naturally, feelings to put to paper. 

Ireland is home for Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan). It’s all she’s ever known until, as she enters adulthood, the opportunities for a young lady in the small village limit her. As her best friend is falling in love with the man of her dreams and with a work position that’s less than ideal, Eilis’ life is less than she imagines. Her sister, Rose (Fiona Glascott) arranges for Eilis to go to America where she has secured a place through the assistance of a priest who helps immigrants. 

With the long and exhaustive journey behind her, heartbreak hits Eilis with great force. Despite the cheerful young women sharing her boarding house, Eilis is lovely and homesick in ways she cannot even describe. She walks through her days as if drowning… until she meets Tony (Emory Cohen). A gentleman who is struck by Eilis from the moment he sees her, Tony is a hardworking Italian Brooklyn native with three brothers. As the two of them begin to spend time together, Eilis’ life changes and she again knows happiness. And then she receives devastating news from home… news that might call her back to the place she called home.  

FILM REVIEW | The Age of Adaline (2015) 

Brooklyn
 
Good enough to be an Oscar nominated film (for more than one category), Brooklyn is one of those films that doesn’t say a lot and yet, says so much. The story is a gentle one that doesn’t hurry itself or rush its characters journey (in fact, it’s 40+ minutes into the nearly 2-hour script before Tony and longer still for another prominent character to appear in Eilis’ life). As I watched this adaptation (based on a novel of the same name) unfurl, I was captivated and also curious that the primary plot (or what I thought was) hadn’t even hinted at taking shape.  

Going into this, I had a different idea of what it’d be. To begin, I didn’t realize this would move as slowly as it did. For over half of the film I was understanding of this and appreciated the importance of it, but at rare times I wanted to shake the characters to do or say something (or in one area of her life, slap Eilis silly – and then, immediately after that, hug her for finding her bravado). Fortunately, such instances were few and the thrust of the film being quiet was vitally important. As those early forty minutes stay with Eilis, we are better able to sympathize with her story and what it meant for her to leave home. Ronan’s portrayal of her is heartbreakingly beautiful. The layers she has and the transformation that comes of her shedding those layers is lovely. Similarly, the rest of the cast is phenomenal. I enjoyed seeing a new actor in a leading man role, and also seeing the talents of Julie Walters and Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow) in an all-too-small role.  

Like the rest of the script, the romance is anything but “passionate.” I enjoyed how this part of the story was written and the fact that it does look at a blossoming romance as a more genuine, “real” relationship. There was one thing I felt the writer’s did in error that, in my opinion, almost “ruined” the quiet charm of the relationship up until then. A different approach would have been welcome and far sweeter to complete the romance. But beyond that, I’ve no complaints. Though it goes without saying, I cannot end without commenting on and praising the costume design. As usual, it’s stunning. Eilis’ wardrobe is 50s proper and perfect, and I kinda' want it.  
 
 
Brooklyn

If you like this genre, Brooklyn is a joy to discover. It’s a pleasant piece of cinema for more reasons than one, not the least of which is its vision of “magic” as we rediscover everything through Eilis’ eyes in this special kind of coming-of-age story.
 
 
Content: there is an awkward (purposeful for the characters) sex scene that involves the couple undressing and a close up shot of the woman’s face. One or two common profanities crop up. Otherwise, there is nothing to cause concern. The film is rated PG13.


18 comments

  1. Nice review Rissi! I finally got around to seeing this one too, and really enjoyed it. The performances were fantastic. The one dampener was the part which was where I assume you wanted to slap Eilis silly. I did too. :P That whole bit seemed really out of character for her. I had a hard time buying that she would have a hard time with that decision. But otherwise it was such a well-made film, and I loved her and Tony's romance. :)

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    1. A hundred times YES! I thought it ridiculous that Eilis would be so wishy-washy. But I do think the script was trying to show that, in returning to Ireland, she finally had everything she dreamed of before she left. So I suppose in that sense, remaining behind was tempting. Still... slapping her silly would have made ME feel better. ;)

      Ditto. This was a well-produced film, and though it was quiet I was a fan of the romance between Tony and Eilis too. It was so beautiful - and he loved her so well. Such a sweet story. :)

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  2. I've heard such good things about this movie, and it definitely sounds like something I'd love! It's coming soon through Netflix, so I can't wait to see it. :) Great review!

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    1. YAY! I hope you enjoy it, Kristin. It's REALLY good. I'd love to know what you thought once you have a chance to see it. Happy watching - and thanks for stopping by with your thoughts. Always great to chat with you. :)

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  3. Fantastic review! Though I should've waited till I actually saw the movie to read it because now I'm just getting more and more antsy for it to be On Demand here!

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    1. LOL! I totally understand this, Meghan. Sometimes if I've not seen/read something (especially if I plan to review it), I wait to read reviews 'til after I've seen/read it. I don't mind spoilers but sometimes, especially in writing, it's nice to go in with only your own thoughts cluttering your mind. :)

      Cannot wait to hear what you think. :)

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  4. I can't wait for this movie to make it to my area! It looks so beautiful and the plot sounds like a real charmer. :) Lovely review, Rissi!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Miranda; and I hope you enjoy this one! I thought it was really good, and cannot wait to know what you thought. :)

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  5. I absolutely loved this movie as well. I wish I could be as eloquent as you are in explaining my reasons why. I went into this movie without knowing anything aside from the fact that an Irish girl would move to NY. So I wasn't really bothered by the slower pace at all. It seemed like such a genuine, realistic story! I adore it. And the romance was perfect. Everything in this movie is understated, or not necessarily spoken, which makes it a joy to discover.

    Fantastic review!

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    1. Hi Jolien! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your impressions of this film. I agree 100% with your comment and your last sentence; because everything was quiet, everything was all the more joyous to discover. It's definitely the kind of film that let's us discover things through Eilis eyes and that's charming. :)

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  6. Ahhh, Rissi! You write such lovely reviews! I adored this movie! I loved it so much, I had to read the book afterward. :) While I loved the book too, I liked the movie's ending much better. I agree that the romance is much more real, and I think it only makes the movie better. OH my gosh, I want Eilis' wardrobe too!

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    1. I'm glad to hear from someone who has also read the book, Rachel. I wondered about it, but thought I'd read somewhere that the film ending was more complete - which I always prefer! I know there's kind of a "rule" that book lovers should also love the book best, but I often mind myself loving the films just as much. I guess (most of the time), I appreciate the creative process a film goes through and so long as the structure isn't changed, I usually cannot pick a favorite (book vs. film).

      The romance is perfect and such a genuine example of real love. Also, YES! Can we raid Eilis' closet together!? :)

      As always, thank you for visiting; always glad to get your take. :)

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  7. (SPOILERS) I liked the movie, but there were a couple things that didn't quite measure up for me. First- what I understood from the trailer and advertising was that she would be torn between two places and two guys. Two lives. But really, once she got married, I didn't really see how she had a choice between guys... So that felt awkward to me. Also- I didn't care for (or even understand why) certain things not done in proper order in their (physical) relationship.
    Overall, however, I did really enjoy the movie. Saoirse is lovely (as always) and I TOO ADORE her wardrobe. Why aren't those sort of swim-costumes still in style / easy to purchase? Great review, Rissi! ^^

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    1. I understand this, Joni. I think for me, her "choice" between the two lives came down to one thing. When she returned to Ireland, she have everything within her grasp that she didn't have when she left. So because of that (and because Ireland WAS the place she'd thought of as home), she was torn between the two worlds.

      Yeah, the scene you reference (prior to their marriage) did ruin what had been, a sweet and charming courtship up until then. I think it was trying to show that Eilis had committed and she was ready to move forward in their relationship. Prior to this, she'd always held back pieces of herself. But I'd agree, it sort of sullied the relationship up until then.

      Glad you stopped by with your thoughts, Joni! I enjoyed reading your impression of this one. :)

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  8. So, I *finally* saw this one yesterday. BEST. MOVIE. EVER. You should've heard my grandma and I yelling at Eilis when she went back to Ireland...we were quite passionate about Tony LOL!

    "Eilis’ wardrobe is 50s proper and perfect, and I kinda' want it." SAME!

    Awesome review for this lovely film, Rissi!

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    1. Right!? Tony is THE BEST! Love him - he was such a gentleman, and the way he loved Eilis? So sweet.

      *high five* Where do we go raid Miss Eilis' wardrobe!? And do we need to go under the cover of darkness!? ;)

      Thanks, as always, for reading, Bekah - and for sharing your thoughts! :)

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  9. Thanks for the great review! I love reading your movie and TV reviews. You've introduced me to several that I didn't know existed. :D This totally sounds like a movie I would enjoy!

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    1. My pleasure, Rachel; thank you for your return visits, and for reading this review. I sure hope you enjoy Brooklyn if you see it. Let me know what you thought. :)

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