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  • Saiorse Ronan needs to be in more movies. She's an absolute delight, whatever she's in. Brooklyn is Ronan's finest 111 minutes to date. All the anguish, all the emotion she portrays, is seen through her eyes. Eilis (Ronan), is torn between two worlds: Ireland and America, missing her family back home and starting afresh halfway across the world in Brooklyn, New York. Events that occur only make it harder for Eilis. Emory Cohen's Tony sparks confidence in our out-of-sorts protagonist. Ronan's acting is so brazenly from the heart that I can't help but feel everything she feels, even during her hardest times. Special mention goes to Julie Walters who oversees the girls in the boarding house that Eilis resides. Brooklyn is an extraordinary watch due to class acting from all round. It's funny, clever and charming.
  • Brooklyn is a film about Eilis, who crosses the Atlantic to America in the 1950s. She is a mildly career-motivated young Irish woman who is handed a dream opportunity without ever asking for it. Contrary to what typical immigrant protagonists are like, she neither really works her way up to success nor once finds herself in a life-and-death situation. Rather, this film shows us that a woman of just a usual background can tell an important story that is surprisingly relevant to us all.

    The main contributor to that surprise is the lead actress, Saoirse Ronan, who plays her role meticulously while also constantly owning the tone of the film. Her delicate and sincere portrayal makes all Eilis's issues, however selfish or insignificant they may seem at first, materialize in your mind, and makes you hope that her pain will somehow ease. Already a one-time Oscar nominee, Ronan reaffirms her acting strength with this exceptional performance. Of all emerging young adult lead actresses, she is likely the most charismatic one in 5 years since Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone.

    From start to finish, Eilis feels just like a girl-next-door. That homey feeling extends to Emory Cohen's Tony, an Italian plumber she meets in the New World. With their small height difference, she almost towers over him in her shoes as they stroll outside, which, helped by their natural chemistry, gives them the authenticity of a couple that you might actually know in real life, as opposed to one of Hollywood's ideal.

    This film is a remedy for anyone who is losing faith in good filmmaking. It is a splendid reminder that you can tell a great story without resorting to excessive twists and effects. With the remarkable performances from the entire cast, there is hardly a dull minute in the film, and it only gets more interesting towards the end. Speaking of the end, Eilis's tips to a new immigrant she meets at the end still hold very true today. They are not only the best advice that you could ever hear from anyone, but also evidence that America is and has always been the land of opportunity.
  • I was lucky enough to get tickets to a preview of Brooklyn last week, and in a rare change from the normal routine, I went into a film knowing absolutely nothing about it.

    It was such a full house, that I ended up staring up at the screen from well outside my usual comfort zone at an awkward angle, too close to the screen, and away from my girlfriend which wasn't a great start, but once the film started I was quickly caught up in the magnificence of Saoirse Ronan's performance and forgot about any of those minor gripes.

    Ronan owned this film, from first to last. The storyline itself is a somewhat thin and a follows a well-trodden path but Ronan gives it such heft, and brings the intensity of her character's experience and development full force such that any deficiencies of the story seem inconsequential. It was only after leaving the screening that I really looked back at some of the plot points and realised how contrived it had been in places, but for the time I was watching it, I was simply living it through the potency of the acting. Ronan was brilliant in this, and I struggle to think of any recent performances that can match this for the confidence and sure-footedness that she showed. I think she's in with a good shout for an award or two for this role.

    It's worth mentioning Julie Waters as well, who reliably entertains and impresses in all she does. Between her and Saoirse Ronan, they made sure that Brooklyn passed the 6 laugh test – and also the 6 cry test. I laughed, and cried, and laughed as I was crying, and cried as I was laughing pretty much throughout the whole film. A thoroughly enjoyable film, where the central performance takes the audience on an engrossing and emotional trip through an otherwise somewhat slight storyline.
  • lisacarlson27 March 2016
    Two-time Academy Award Nominee Saoirse Ronan is as extraordinary as she is beautiful in Brooklyn. Set in the 1950s a young Irish woman is torn between her homeland and the United States. Her character has ambition and romance on her mind. She's strong and smart. The cast here maybe mostly unrecognizable but is superb. Especially handsome Emory Cohen who plays Tony. It's about family, respect, hard work, the things we love, ambition and most of all romantic love. It is a treasure trove of a movie about the the things we value most in life. It's perfect for a Sunday afternoon and brings enchantment. If only there were more movies like this one.
  • Often movies have a magical quality as you're viewing them. Some will demand your undivided attention, others will hypnotize your senses, leaving them to simply wash over you with their exuberance and classic filmmaking procedures. In the case of John Crowley's "Brooklyn," the latter is certainly the case. There comes a moment in the film when you are taken in by the film's classic style filmmaking, and tenderly thought-provoking performances from its cast. Director Crowley, in partnership with Oscar-nominated scribe Nick Hornby, create a beautiful and sensitive love story that is everything a Nicholas Sparks film adaptation wishes it could be. With a vibrant turn from Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan at the helm, "Brooklyn" utilizes all of its tools in its arsenal to convey a potent message of love and family.

    "Brooklyn" tells the story of Ellis Lacey (Ronan), who in 1950s Ireland and New York, has to choose between two men and two countries. One is the charismatic Italian plumber Tony (Emory Cohen) while the other is the reserved yet sensitive Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson). Both are making a case for Ellis' love.

    The film is helmed with a strong and undeniable confidence from Saoirse Ronan. Feeling the internal battle just pouring out of her in nearly every sense and every scene, Ronan finds Ellis' struggle and wears it on her sleeve. She doesn't just have fear of choice, she goes through a barrage of emotions, and we actively see the character progress in each milestone that she hits throughout. It begins with the yearning and devastating separation from her family in Ireland, before gradually being brought to a yearn for acceptance in a new city. Her mild but rewarding progression into comfort and confidence is shown before being abruptly ripped away when tragedy strikes. Every instance is felt in Ronan's work, all of which is authentically true and vivaciously real. It's one of her best turns, and further proof that her name will be on our lips for quite some years.

    After breaking out with a scene-stealing turn in Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines," Emory Cohen shows his sensitive and charming side of his range, resulting in an equally measured and tantalizing performance to his co-star. Don't sleep on this kid. Domhnall Gleeson's reservations to Jim Farrell is haunting in a role that doesn't call for many words or emotions. You can see the ache and pain in his movements, desperate for love and an overwhelming feeling of being lost. In a few scenes, Julie Walters as Mrs. Kehoe sustains as a surprisingly comic relief in a very serious drama. Her stoic, passive demeanor is such a treat to watch in her scenes of interaction with the girls of the boarding house in which Ellis is staying.

    Screenwriter Nick Hornby constructs the story with real life emotion, taking very few short cuts for its characters. He allows Ellis' feelings to make the journey in each instance in which she faces them. The foundation of Tony and Ellis is honest, and rings true as something we'd see in any instance within our own lives. Where he really shines in the connection between Ellis and her family. Thousands of miles away, and with little interaction on screen, you are heartbroken and pulled through the ringer as Ronan exemplifies the loss of her family and determination to see them once again. If there is a chink in Hornby's armor, it's the case he creates for the audience for Ellis to stay in Ireland. Up until the second half of the film, Hornby makes his case for New York, I'd only wish he made a more compelling case for Ireland, giving the audience a more fruitful and difficult dilemma in making their own decision about where Ellis should be.

    One must acknowledge how impeccably constructed the film is from head to toe. Crowley assembles a dynamite team behind the camera, who all standout in their own right. Cinematographer Yves Bélanger, with a yellow hue and soft palate, capture the country and the city to stunning results. He frames each scene intimately, capturing the heart and emotion of every word spoken. Production Designer François Séguin and Set Decorator Suzanne Cloutier capture the 50's homes as if plucked from the time period themselves, along with transporting us to a foreign land we can only dream to visit. Odile Dicks- Mireaux's magnetic costume work elevates each performance, allowing the actors to fully engage with their characters and the time. And finally, the music of Michael Brook is a breathtaking swell of emotion, creating moments that will surely bring you to tears.

    "Brooklyn" is a damn fine movie, following all the classic beats that we've grown to love about the most timeless love stories. "Brooklyn" will join the ranks of those timeless stories in the coming years. It's a joyful and heart aching film that stands as one of the year's best, and a sure-fire contender for several Academy Awards.

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  • Sweet little love story of an Irish lass who comes to America circa 1950. She leaves her home in Enniscorthy (Co. Wexford) and comes to seek fame and fortune - and maybe a 'fella' - in Brooklyn. Subsequent events draw her back to Enniscorthy, and then back to Brooklyn. In between we come to know Eilis (pronounced Ailish) Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) quite well because it is her picture, and she is in nearly every scene. She changes from a homesick immigrant to a self-assured woman in the course of the picture, and Ronan's characterization is terrific.

    Along the way she meets Tony Fiorello, played by Emory Cohen in a role apparently underplayed so as not to upstage the main character. He comes from a big Italian family but is not a stereotypical Italian; he is barely audible and very subdued. Perhaps the best and most humorous scenes take place at dinnertime in Mrs. Kehoe's boarding house for Irish immigrant girls. Played by Julie Walters, she rides herd on her catty boarders and uses religious metaphors to put them in their place.

    "Brooklyn" is a movie for grown-ups, an independent film in a sea of Hollywood schlock. It is a likable movie with a lot of heart and solid acting down to the smallest role. It is not a sprawling saga but a nice little movie, and I have only sketched a few instances. Many reviewers summarize the whole picture, but the overall tenor of the picture gives the moviegoer a rooting interest and a sense of the resiliency of the human spirit, as well as an illustration of the innate decency and goodness of Eilis Lacey.

    P.S. Those hoping to see scenes of Brooklyn neighborhoods will be disappointed; the picture was filmed in Canada and Ireland.
  • Based on Colm Tóibín's novel of the same name, 'Brooklyn' is A Beautiful, Beautiful Film! A heartwarming tale about Love, Loss & Relationships. And a Knock-Out Performance by Saoirse Ronan is always welcome.

    'Brooklyn' Synopsis: An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a new romance. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

    'Brooklyn' is a simple film, told magnificently. Its superior film in all respects. Nick Hornby's Adapted Screenplay captures the Protagonist's coming-of-age tale, with dignity & pathos. I was arrested by the flow of the narrative. John Crowley's Direction is excellent. Cinematography & Editing are sharp, while the Art & Costume Design are fabulous. Michael Brook's Score works.

    Performance-Wise: Saoirse Ronan is in great form. The talented actress delivers a Knock-Out Performance as the naive & lovable protagonist. This is the kind of performance awards were invented for. Giving her terrific support are Emory Cohen & Domhnall Gleeson, who enact the men in her lives, proficiently. The Ever-Compelling Jim Broadbent shines in a brief role.

    On the whole, 'Brooklyn' is a true winner. Don't miss it!
  • I watched this movie for the first time a few days ago while on a plane traveling from Ireland to Australia after my first visit to the country to say goodbye to my best friend who had passed away.

    Needless to say I was an absolute mess but at the same time it gave me so much comfort to hear that beautiful Irish accent and yes the emotional connection now to the movie will mean this review is ridiculously bias.

    Brooklyn is a film that has so many elements that relate to so many people around the world and not just Ireland. There's a story about living abroad and finding your place in the world which so many of us have gone through as well as issues about self discovery and growing up, death and grief while tangled in this beautiful world of love and romance.

    There are so many elements to this movie that it's really a testament to the beautiful novel written by Colm Toibin and the very brave and brilliant screenplay adapted by Nick Hornby that was able to translate the messages from the novel to the screen. Combine that with the vision of John Crowley and the Oscar worthy performance by the breathtaking Saoirse Ronan, and you just have this brilliant and amazing heart warming movie.

    This team didn't just do Ireland proud. They just did proud period. Great work everyone that worked on this film.
  • Brian Friel's "Philadelphia, Here I Come" is still the great fictional work of the last 50 years or so to deal with the Irish Diaspora but Colm Toibin's "Brooklyn" runs it a close second. Sadly, the only film version of Friel's play was a somewhat dull affair, part of the American Film Theatre series. It preserved a great play but it wasn't much of a film, whereas John Crowley's screen version of Toibin's novel is as close to perfect as we are likely to get. It preserves the feel of the book, (thanks to a flawless adaptation by Nick Hornby), but this is also a real film; large, expansive, magical and one of the best films you are likely to see this year.

    It's the story of one young girl's awakening, to the world and to herself. She's Eilis and at the start of the film she is moving from her home town of Enniscorthy in Ireland's County Wexford to Brooklyn, a world away on the other side of the Atlantic. She goes at the behest of her sister, Rose so she might have a life that might otherwise be denied her back in Ireland. Homesick at first, she finally finds happiness with a hugely likable and very handsome Italian boy until a family tragedy forces her to return to Ireland.

    It's a simple tale, made complex by conflicting emotions and a welter of detail. It's funny and sad and bursting with life. Brooklyn is a place of happiness and giving; Enniscorthy a place of sadness and resentment, though on Eilis' return, a fuller and more confident woman, it too offers the potential for happiness in the form of a new job and, more crucially, a new boyfriend. This return also offers a quandary; should she stay or return to Brooklyn, as well as an ending more tinged with sadness than might appear on the surface.

    Nothing about this wonderful film can be faulted, (except perhaps the appalling trailer that's doing the rounds). The period detail is superb, beautifully captured in Yves Belanger's gorgeous cinematography, (the costumes are crucial and they are perfect). Here is a period piece, (it's set in 1952), that could have been made in the year in which it's set and the director, John Crowley, imbues it with great feeling.

    Best of all, it's superlatively acted down to the smallest part. Roles that are basically clichés, (the kindly landlady in the US, the parish priest, the bitchy shopkeeper back in Ireland), are beautifully fleshed out by Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Brid Brennan. Still smaller parts, (the girls Eilis encounters on her journey, the Italian boy's family, her mother and sister), are all fully developed by a brilliant cast but it's the three central performances that are truly great and award-worthy.

    As the boys who basically change Eilis' life, in one way or another, Emory Cohen in America and Domhnall Gleeson in Ireland, are terrific. Cohen, (a much more handsome, young Rod Steiger), has a real future ahead of him while Gleeson is fast overtaking his father as Ireland's finest actor. And then there is Saoirse Ronan as Eilis; the greatness of her performance lies in as much in what she's not doing or saying as in what she does. She has one of the most expressive faces in the movies and it's in the moments of silence that she really comes into her own and it's one of the great pleasures of recent cinema watching her character develop. Surely she must be a front-runner at this year's Oscars. This is a film both for now and for posterity. See it at all costs.
  • Crafted with care, told with elegance & resonating a deep sense of warmth throughout its runtime, Brooklyn is the story of an immigrant that beautifully illustrates the struggles faced when trying to adjust in a new environment with people you don't know & places you aren't familiar with, and not only does it work as a wonderful coming-of-age drama but also succeeds as a pleasant love story.

    Based on the novel of the same name, the story of Brooklyn takes place during the early 1950s and follows a young Irish immigrant who leaves her hometown to seek a better future in the titular town of New York where, after struggling for a while, she manages to bring some stability in her life. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes back home, she's forced to confront her past and make a hard choice.

    Directed by John Crowley, the plot is divided into three segments with the first one focusing on her inexperience & the difficult time she endures during her initial days in the new country. The second segment covers her life in Brooklyn and the different things she experiences there while the last one brings her back to the place she went away from where circumstances compel her to make a decision that will alter her life.

    Written by Nick Hornby, the movie tackles the issues faced by immigrants in a lightweight manner plus the characters are quite compelling. The set pieces are reminiscent of the timeline it tries to depict, Cinematography uses different colour tones for each segment and its bright lighting keeps the ambiance more inviting. Editing unravels the plot in a controlled way and pace is never hurried. Plus, all the period drama elements are nicely handled.

    Coming to the performances, Brooklyn packs a fine cast in Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters & others, and all of them are convincing in their given roles. Effortlessly stealing the show is Ronan who carries the whole film all by herself plus her excellent performance is this flick's real highlight. Cohen & Gleeson chip in with fine supporting work while Walters is a treat to watch even if her appearance is quite brief.

    On an overall scale, Brooklyn is a heartwarming, captivating & fulfilling movie that's as much about growing up & finding your identity in life as it is about love & relationships, is powered by a strong lead performance from Saoirse Ronan, and addresses its universal themes in a sensible manner. Expertly directed, deftly written, exquisitely photographed, patiently edited, consistently paced & aptly scored, Brooklyn is one of the better films of 2015 and is definitely worth a shot.
  • Looming skyscrapers in a distant land, the kindness of strangers, love and hope for a better life; such things open the eyes of Eilis, a smart and insular immigrant to 1950s Brooklyn, to opportunities she did not have in the Irish countryside. While at first lonely and homesick in this new cityscape, Eilis is soon enthralled with the bright possibilities, encouraged by all she is learning and charmed by the people she meets. She breaks free from her shell and shines in this radiant, unfamiliar realm. Returning to Ireland for what she hopes is a brief stay, Eilis both sees through and is seen in a luminous and different light. Both worlds, New York and her Irish home, now pull the new and improved Eilis in different directions.

    Saoirse Ronan is spectacular in her performance as Eilis. She really makes this Sundance hit come alive. It is comforting, as always, to see a film that does not depend on explosions, computer graphics and alien contagions to entertain. There is a deeper pleasure here, one that pulls at mind, spirit, body and heart together. Visuals, story, organization, acting, intriguing characters and more, all come together well.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Set in the 1950s, a young Irish woman emigrates to New York for a life with better prospects. Initially she misses home but gradually adapts to her new lifestyle and secretly marries.

    She returns to Ireland for a visit after the death of her sister, who was looking after her mother. Despite intending that her return is to be brief she begins to settle back into her previous Irish life.

    She reacquaints herself with old friends and a possible romance with a local lad begins to develop. She is torn between fondness for her old life in Ireland with a new romance and the excitement of her new life across the Atlantic with her husband. She is faced with the decision of a lifetime.

    Whilst there's nothing new in this story it deals with recurring themes well. A sweet, charming drama with wonderful acting and touching moments.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ireland, early-1950s. Eilis Lacey is a young woman working in a grocery shop. She has greater ambitions and moves to Brooklyn, New York, leaving her mother and sister, Rose, behind. She is terribly homesick but eventually settles down, finding a job, studying to be a bookkeeper and meeting a nice young man, Tony. Things are going well but then she learns that Rose has died, and decides to return to Ireland, temporarily. She and Tony hastily get married and then she sets off back to Ireland, alone. Life is about to complicated...

    Sweet film, but not anywhere near as profound as it takes itself. The set up was good and Eilis's finding happiness in New York was quite heart-warming.

    The warmness and sweetness of the first half of the movie was enhanced by a wonderful performance by Saoirse Ronan. She imbues Eilis with great vulnerability, self-reliance, sweetness and likability.

    However, the warmth and potential of the first half is mostly negated by the second half. Here the plot gets clumsy and contrived. A secret that shouldn't have been a secret and an implausible love triangle become the main plot devices of the second half. Instead of being engaged by Eilis's new-found happiness mixed with tragedy we have a convoluted, implausible soap opera unfolding.

    Ending was reasonably emotional, but the Ireland sojourn definitely took the shine off the movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Every year when the best movie nominations are revealed, I watch all of them to decide if they are worthy. I was surprised that Brooklyn is nominated because I have no idea why. The acting is good from every one involved. Saoirse Ronan as usual shows her limitless talent. However I have trouble caring about the events in her life or the characters. These events are meant to be extraordinary - migrating to a foreign land, overcoming homesickness to thrive in the new environment, falling in love and marrying someone from another culture as well as losing a beloved family member back home. It seems like they are just glossed over lightly and at a rather slow pace. There were some inspiring words narrated over but it still feels like a TV movie rather than one for the big screen hoping to win big awards.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of the marks of a bad movie is unmotivated or out of character behavior. That pretty much sums up this whole movie. The main character is set up to be sweet, loving, quiet, and innocent. She is forced to emigrate in order to have any kind of future. Then she goes to a dance with a new girl at the boarding house and treats her horribly for absolutely no reason. She remarks, based on nothing, that the girl is "awful." I guess the awfulness must have been edited out.

    She marries hastily before returning to Ireland due to a family death. I mean this was set up to be a real love match and then continues to be that at the end; but, she gets involved with another man while in Ireland for absolutely no reason. She refuses to read or respond to her husband's letters, again for no reason. She never tells her mother she's got it --no reason.

    She seems to make her decision to return to the US based on the fact that she got busted for being married. But, her reaction to being busted is pure righteous indignation. How does that follow?

    She's indifferent and withdrawn from her mother, and she spends her time working and running around while in Ireland for the funeral. Then she abruptly leaves with only a day's notice after being busted. I guess we're not supposed to care about the mother at all. It's only this little sweetie that matters.

    Totally unsympathetic main character and false/unmotivated behavior add up to a really lousy movie. That's what this is.
  • Im sharing my opinion, which is full of SPOILERS. I did not particularly like this film, partly because of the lack of originality. The main reason however, is that the main character is absolutely unlikeable and inconsistent for me. In details: When she arrives to Brooklyn, she is a shy and closed girl, who is really bad with people. When they go to the Irish dance night she leaves the "new girl", because she is annoying for her. The first sign of selfishness, and also an inconsistent move with the introvert character. She moves back to Ireland, for her mother. The second night she is out and start to flirt with a guy, Jim, despite his husband waiting for her in the USA. Girls in love are not like this. As her relationship evolves with Jim, she stops responding for her husbands letters. Again, who is in love would not do this. The all village is speaking about her and Jim. She is really thinking to stay in Ireland, until the old lady unveil her secret (she is married), and eventually goes back to the states, without spending some more time with her mother (for who she moved back). And than she is just waiting for her husband, like nothing had happened, like she is in love, like she is back for him. Am I missing the point?:)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As incredibly simple this movie was, I am puzzled on what I just saw. Maybe the reason is: why the hell did this get noticed at the Oscars?

    Every year, the Oscar Best Picture nomination list not only snubs great films, but it leaves open slots that could've been filled with some of the greats. (This year, only eight were nominated, when two more easily could've been found amongst some incredible works.) Additionally, I always see at least one or two WTF choices in which I thought were enormously below average or down right terrible.

    Mercifully, this isn't terrible, but it does fit the WTF category. It's just…there. Nothing special about this. Sure, I believed the actors, believed they lived in both Brooklyn, New York and Ireland in the 50s. But, there wasn't much substance or depth I haven't seen on a PBS or lifetime movie back in the 90s.

    Ellis dreams of leaving her family and life in Ireland to make anew in New York. Slowly – and I use that term very lightly, she does, but then tragedy strikes and she has to choose between the countries.

    That's it. That's two hours of Ellis longing for both while blatantly leading everyone on around her. She's not mean about it – heck, she'd have to show some personality trait, that I never saw, to add some zest to this project. But, the truth is: she's the Bella Swan of the 1950s. She just looks longingly everywhere, forgets to smile and men just stumble over backwards to court her.

    There are movies for everyone. Maybe if you'd like to spend two hours watching an Irish immigrant making decisions, people gossiping around her and no real payoff, by all means: visit Brooklyn. But, at least, even though it has no shot at all at winning any Oscars, it might be for some older folk to marvel at as they remember the 1950's Brooklyn Irish craze.
  • I had little empathy for the heroine of this story because she has almost no obstacles to overcome. Okay, she's got a cranky boss. Fortunately, her sister has saved up enough money to send her to America--where the parish priest has already found accommodation for her. And, where everybody is nice to her. And where a sincere, kind and handsome man courts her and proposes marriage. Oh, and the parish priest pays for her schooling. And she breezes through her exams because she's smart as a whip.

    Then, about halfway through the movie, tragedy strikes. But it's an event so sudden and so far away that there's really nothing our heroine can--or is expected to--do anything about it. So while it's sad and unfortunate, it's nothing she can act on.

    Phew! For a moment there, I thought our protagonist might actually have to do something besides accept the next kind offer of assistance.

    Returning to Ireland, she's courted by considerate, handsome fella #2. But to make matters worse. . . she's offered a high-paying office job--doing the very thing she aced all her exams in! Will the tribulations of this woman never end? For a while, I was afraid she might win the lottery.

    The worst thing to happen to her is that she gets seasick and is locked out of the head. SHE HAS TO USE A BUCKET. Oh, the humanity! Someone should have told the screenwriter that this is an insufficient problem to build a drama around.
  • fei-de-togrey23 December 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    Colm Toibin is a great writer. Nick Hornby is not. I have enjoyed some of C.T.'s novels a great deal (In fact "The Heather Blazing" is a favorite of mine.) I like his genteel style in such work. The performances here are fine, or better than fine; it looks lovely: the color palette, the costumes, the scenes and scenery all make for a fine backdrop. Where it fails, and it is a major failing, is that it says nothing of any real worth about the migrant experience. Eilis (Saoirise Ronan) is shipped off to NYC through the assistance of her thoughtful sister and a kindly priest. (In a good performance by Jim Broadbent as Father Flood.) Up until an easily predicted plot development the difficulties faced by our heroine are a bout of seasickness, the need for 30 seconds training in her new job as a shop assistant, and a touch of homesickness. While I'm happy to see women succeed, there would have been far more dirt under the fingernails of all of these women. Apart from the minor matter of losing her virginity, Eilis could indeed be the sainted mother of God. It all suffers from Nick Hornby blandness. Everything he touches turns to bland. My advice: stay away from his cooking and, more importantly, his "creative" projects. This is not meant to be an art house atmospheric enigma, nor is it, but it fails to involve solely because of a threadbare plot that avoids detailing the threadbare aspects of lives led by women who were, in reality, the working poor.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, I finally saw the movie. It escaped me in 2015 so I thank HBO for putting it on. Now to the crux of the matter. The real heroine of the movie is Ellis's sister Rose. Let's look at the facts Ellis is going nowhere in Ireland. She is is by her standards not pretty like her friend Nancy. She is not interested in the rugby boys who wear the "blazers" and oil their hair. So that cuts her out of a potential social life. She is a good pious catholic girl, another strike "agin" her . She has a dead end job (working for an old "witch", boy I wish I could use another consonant but I will get blacklisted). Her mom (sadly) wants her to stay in Ireland for her mom's benefit by making her the "dutiful daughter". She lives in a god forsaken little town, both in size and attitudes which stifles any possible growth or hope for a life. So you can see her current "life" really rots!!! But her sister who undoubtedly knows she is terminally ill is not blind to her plight. Again her sister understands all the obstacles confronting Eillis and as such arranges for her to go to America and secure the opportunity of figuratively being reborn.In fact when Eilles is packing she mentions to her sister about the money she has spent on some clothes but the reference is in the fact that she (the sister) would spend any amount to see her happy and thriving in America!!! Also, Eillis had a mini network when she came to America. She has lodgings, a job, and a family friend Priest who gets her into Brooklyn College and pays her tuition for her schooling. She even can go to dances sponsored by the parish to meet boys, which she ultimately does when she meets Tony This touched a nerve in my system. I wish I had a sister or brother or Rabbi who was so altruistic and caring. I wish I was a member of a religious community that set up social functions for me. Sadly, Hebrew Congregations did not do these things well and my dad did not join any Jewish Organizations (because it cost him money) for his son. (me) Unfortunately, I grew up in a "God forsaken town" and my life was shaped by all the people that as Ellis said she had forgotten!!!! So, all I can say is her sister is my heroine and the true heroine of the movie and most likely (until I read it the novel)that made me both cry and rejoice for the protagonist !!!!!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If many men are guilty of falling for mindless, hyper-violent "guy films," then can't women also admit to crass self-indulgence when they patronize and approve of such films as "Brooklyn," a veritable "chick flick" if there ever was one? Apparently the critics have also fallen for this empty vessel of a film masquerading as an art house triumph. Call me a curmudgeon but the best thing that can be said about Brooklyn is that it's a beautiful Hallmark Greeting card!

    Brooklyn begins in post-World War II Ireland and stars the very attractive Saoirse Ronan as Eilis Lacey, a young woman who decides to make a new life for herself in the United States. Note that good melodramas have good villains but the best Brooklyn can muster is Miss Kelly, the vindictive shopkeeper who later proves to be a significant stumbling block in Eilis' herculean effort to resolve a tough refrain of "torn between two lovers."

    Aside from Miss Kelly (who has scant screen time for the main antagonist), most of the other characters Eilis encounters on her journey from Ireland to New York and back, are of the goody two- shoes variety. There is of course her long-suffering mother and sister, a kindly priest who arranges for her passage to New York, a sympathetic fellow female traveler who's already been to the US who helps Eilis with an embarrassing bout of seasickness on the passage over, not to mention the sage advice she imparts on how to "act like an American" upon arrival.

    Once Eilis is firmly ensconced at the Irish Boarding house in Brooklyn, she's taken under her wing by the an overbearing landlady, Madge Kehoe, who implies that the other young women staying there are guilty of shameless moral turpitude. We don't learn that much about Eilis' fellow boarders but her boss at her new job initially appears to have some potential as a bitchy martinet—only to morph into a bland do-gooder just as soon as Eilis is called back to Ireland following a family tragedy.

    After about a good half hour, when you've already expected the proceedings to have broken into Act II, Eilis finally takes a substantial step into her new world by meeting Beau #1, the ever so perfect "Tony," who is confident that Irish lass Eilis will fit in quite nicely with his cute and perfect Italian family. It soon becomes quite apparent that screenwriter Nick Hornby knows little about Italian-Americans in general so all we learn about Tony is that he loves the Brooklyn Dodgers and works as a plumber (oh yes, he's a wonderful guy to boot!). Meanwhile Eilis's chums back at the boarding house are determined to show Eilis how to fit in with her potential in-laws by teaching her how to twirl spaghetti at the dinner table! There's also Tony's precocious little brother who manages to talk like an adult and hardly like a kid growing up in the early 50s.

    Brooklyn is designed to manipulate your emotions at every turn so just imagine if director John Crowley didn't have a maudlin string section to intrude whenever significant plot points reach their fever pitch. The strings are particularly ubiquitous when Eilis returns to Ireland following the death of her sister.

    The lack of character development is also heavily apparent when it comes to Beau #2, Jim Farrell. He's basically the Irish version of Tony, another wonderful "nice guy" who eventually learns that slicked back hair is not the way to "get the girl." Oh yes, he also will be inheriting his parents' house when they move to the country (proving that he's obvious good "marriage material").

    Finally we arrive at the moment which explains why Brooklyn's antagonist, the meddling Miss Kelly, is only a minor presence in the narrative. The primary antagonist is part of Eilis's internal arc, not external. Poor Eilis cannot choose between Tony and the new world and her homesickness, which also means a new bookkeeping job in Ireland as well as potential nuptials with Jim. The previously alluded to "torn between two lovers" refrain is precisely what fires the passions of all those women (and their male enablers) who fall for such rampant sentiment. For them, Eilis' internal conflict is understandable—even natural, and is proof of her nobility. For me it only underscores Eilis' fickleness and lack of strength of character (and this is perhaps where men and women differ: women see the influence of Eilis' homesickness and attraction for home-bred Jim as emotionally understandable and excusable; men see the broken vow to Tony (after she marries him back in New York), as irrational!

    If Brooklyn gets anything right, it's in the excellent production design, which undoubtedly awakens nostalgia for the good old days of the late 40s and early 50s. I like how Brooklyn Heights has been transformed into "halcyon days" replete with those long forgotten street signs and various vehicles of that era, not to mention the fabulous women's dresses and bathing suits (most honorable mention goes to Ms. Ronan's fabulous yellow dress).

    Brooklyn's acting ensemble (and notably Ms. Ronan in the lead role) perform well despite the simplistic script. Mr. Hornby can do little in fleshing out his characters but occasionally provides a few twists and turns in the plot (the foreshadowing where Eilis runs into a fellow Irish denizen at the municipal court before she gets married, nicely sets up Miss Kelly's extortion plot, forcing Eilis to admit she was already married in America and subsequently is forced to return!).

    As a self-confessed, semi-curmudgeon, Brooklyn is precisely the type of film that immediately gets up my (critical) gander. Let me be clear that I don't dislike every chick flick that's out there—certainly there are certain romantic comedies that have no trouble passing muster. But when a chick flick such as this dips into the realm of the bathetic, all bets are off.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The movie doesn't look like 50s, both cars and Brooklyn, Ireland, dancing, poverty, motivation, costumes, atmosphere itself. Sometimes it looks like 30s, sometimes 60s. Poor Ireland turns into blooming country for a few months. The plot is very nice, wide space for creativity, but... It looks like authors never felt need nor duty nor passion. Life of wax people with synthetic problems and feelings. The movie pretends to be a human story, but it is far away from real life, real people. False feeling. It looks like authors read no book only comics, never fell in love, they can make love only. Ultimately, poor realization strangled nice plot. As for me, of course. You eager in anticipation with plot for all the movie but the small mistakes and disappointments then and again spoil your impression, but you calm yourself down, OK, it's just a small lapse, let's enjoy it... I'm surprised the movie was nominated, it is not Cinema, it's just a piece of pop-culture, cliché, comics.
  • rishabgaba19 January 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    The script does not deserve to be made into a movie. Its more like a five minute bed time story for a 5-Year old. The story revolves around the beautiful Saoirse Ronan who won many hearts due to her enchanting and mesmerizing eyes. That's all that is to the movie. A little summary, that's the introduction and the end to the movie. An immigrant to Brooklyn, she has home sickness, but then she thrives, then she goes back and faces the dilemma to stay or go back. Voila! Obviously she goes back, end of story. No drama, no romance, no suspense, and according to me no story-line. Waste of time and money. This movie is so short that I can't even write a 10 line review for it.
  • It is rare that a film fills a hole I didn't know existed.

    Brooklyn is a period romance about a woman, Ellis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), who immigrates from Ireland to the United States in the 1950's. It is also one of the best films of what turned out to be a fantastic year for cinema.

    When I think of immigration from Ireland, I think of the 1840's and 1850's, during the Great Potato Famine, or else I think of the turn of the century, the high point for immigration of all sorts. But the eras that have been passed over by popular culture are not empty shells. They have stories to tell. This film is one of the very best of these stories.

    Above all, it is a lovely film. It is not bold or brash or glitzy or any other quintessentially American attribute, but it is a quintessentially American film. I do not mean it is the sort of film that could only be made in America by Americans, but rather that it is the sort of the film that exemplifies what my country is, at its best, about: growth, opportunity, resilience, desire.

    Nevertheless, it is far too complex and beautiful of a film to be adequately summed up by a few buzz words. The filmmaking craft is top-notch. There are shots in this film that are framed like paintings, such as the first shot of the film- Ellis' home and street- and the first shot of New York City, with the Empire State Building glimmering in the distance.

    The character work is even better. I hate most movie romances because they feel contrived and tacked on. At no point do they feel necessary or important. This is a shame, because a great romance evokes passions, dreams, fears, and wishes that nothing else can. Great romance can be big and boisterous or soft and subtle, but it has to be intimate and potent, a secret shared between the two lovers. By those measures, this is one of the best romances in the history of art, and I do not say this likely.

    There is a love triangle, but it is natural, gripping, and very non-petty. Ellis behaves in a reasonable way, her actions filled with her personality and her evolving mental state. A bad love triangle plays out like The Bachelor. A great love triangle plays out like a boat navigating two shores. Ellis is not just caught between two guys. She is caught between two different lives, two different ideals, two different dreams.

    The best films all feel unique, like it could only be made at one place and one time but one team. While this film is in many ways a throwback to an earlier era, offering a feel, an environment, and a story that had been left behind by the passage of time, it is its own production. It shows the past as it could only be viewed from not just a present, but this present, by these people.

    It is not obvious or obtuse, but gentle and subtle, a welcome change in the era of towering blockbusters meant to be seen exactly one time by tens of millions of people. Most films nowadays are like a roller-coaster- you get on, get twisted around for a while, get off, eat, and move on. This film feels like love, how appropriate, considering it is a romance. You're immediately drawn in. You want to know more, to dive deeper. Eventually, you fall in head first and are overjoyed about it. When it ends, you are crestfallen, but you know the memories you have formed will stay with you until eternity.

    Saorise Ronan stands out among a collection of talented actors and actresses delivering some of the best performances of their lives. I want to see more of her. I want her to make more roles come alive. She has the right blend of fierce and sensitive. Though she (wrongfully) did not get an Oscar for her role, I have no doubt she will receive one in the future. I do, however, doubt that she will be as good as she is here. This role fits her perfectly.

    As a film critic, I am often disappointed when writing my reviews. I want to share with you, my audience, the feeling a film gave me. But that is impossible. A film, despite only normally being between an hour and a half and three hours, is a combination of the work of hundreds or even thousands of people over often years. The best a critic can do is try to capture the essence of that feeling, but even that is hard to do. Art is about emotions, and while emotions can be explained, they cannot be translated. I could talk to you about what happiness feels like, but I can't make you feel happy by doing that.
  • CineCritic251722 February 2016
    Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis, a young Irish girl exchanging her hometown in Ireland for Brooklyn New York. After the long voyage she finds employment and a husband. When her sister back in Ireland dies, she is forced to go back home and has to deal with the lure of both homes.

    Brooklyn is a well made movie with superb acting. The story however is surprisingly thin, predictable and too slow paced towards the end to hold one's attention. There's simply not enough conflict and the characters are not fleshed out to any satisfying degree, rendering them little more than stereotypes.

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