Brooklyn is a film starring Saoirse Ronan as a young Irish emigre, Eilis, who moves to New York in the early 1950s to find work, leaving behind a mother and sister as a result. In Brooklyn, she stays at a boarding house with four other women of differing personality, works at a department store (but takes night classes to become a bookkeeper), and falls for a young Italian man named Tony (Emory Cohen).
The film makes a marked transition from Eilis’s process of immigration and settling into her new world to her love story with Tony. From there, the film takes another diversion revolving around Eilis’s family back in Ireland, which leads to a series of events that could jeopardize her potential happiness with Tony.
The film is simplistic in a narrative sense. You have a story of a person thrust into an unfamiliar setting, which is something done countless times before. It also threads in a romantic plot that eventually forms a love triangle, another strongly conventional narrative technique.
Despite this simplicity, the film is anchored by strong performances that keep it from turning into a tired re-hash. Ronan turns in a wonderful performance as the protagonist who must keep her feet on the ground in light of a series of changes and troubles. Cohen, too, has a strong but less dominant performance as heart-struck Tony.
What the strong acting cannot remedy is the film’s pacing. The hour and 40 minute film treads slowly through its bare bones plot, elongating scenes that don’t necessitate elongation.
Brooklyn is a strong romance film that doesn’t dwell on its romantic laurels so much that it makes the movie appear saccharine. It is a film with genuine emotional drives that are at times melancholic, but that are also uplifting and, most importantly, rewarding.
As always, thanks for reading!
Have you seen Brooklyn? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)