Adapted from Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel, Brooklyn is not what you would call exciting. Except, of course, if you are a fan of the novel and you like the commas and dots, the Ps and Qs all lined up properly as they are in the novel. After all, one would not like to be too original, would one? Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis Lacey, a young Irish woman who in 1952 has decided to immigrate to the United States to find a job and build a better life for herself. She stays at Mrs. Kehoe’s boardinghouse in Brooklyn. Once again, as Mrs. Kehoe, Julie Walters assaults the audience and the camera in yet another overbearing, unsubtle performance. At first, Eilis is homesick and misses her mother and sister terribly. She gets support from Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) who offers to pay for bookkeeping courses. Then Eilis meets Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen), a nice young man from a Italian and they fall in love. Eilis marries Tony just before she has to go back to Ireland where her sister died. She hides the news of her marriage to family and friends. If she feels a slight pressure to remain in Ireland, Eilis does not put too much resistance. She gets a job as a bookkeeper and Jim Farrell (Domnhall Gleeson), a young bachelor, start courting her. Eilis even ignores Tony’s letters. There are a lot of talk of Saoirse Ronan as a possible Oscar contender. Personally, I found both Ronan and the film boring and uninvolving. Emory Cohen impressed me most. His scenes with Ronan are delicate and sweet. You find yourself going back to a more romantic, innocent era. Brooklyn was shot in Ireland and Montreal. Quebec cinematographer Yves Bélanger does an exquisite job in the second half with those beautiful Irish sceneries. Brooklyn has enough romance, but not enough passion.
And the Oscar went to… Brooklyn lost Best picture to Spotlight, it was not his to win. Saoirse Ronan may have had a chance as Best actress, but it was Brie Larson that was awarded for Room.
Based on the novel by Colm Tóibín
Rated Parental Guidance