After the initial trailers, Brooklyn didn’t look like a film that would completely enthral me. After the massive talk of it scooping awards for Saoirse Ronan’s performance on the big screen, it kindled my intrigue to watch Brooklyn.
Initially I thought the film was going to be a tragic love-affair gone wrong, as Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is caught between two relationships, in two different countries. Eilis (pronounced Eh-lish) is a young, Irish girl from a small town of Enniscorthy. She moves to America with the aid of Father Flood (Jim Broadbent), who arranges her accommodation and work and she begins to feel homesick as she starts life in the big city. I thought was going to be the simple storyline. Oh, how wrong I was. We’re given much more than that, as the film picks up it’s stride and becomes this excellent and enjoyable watch over the hour and forty-five minutes. (give or take a few minutes)
In these opening scenes Eilis is this lifeless body that drifts from day-to-day in Enniscorthy and eventually in Brooklyn too, prompting comments from her bosses and housemates. As the film progresses, she flourishes and becomes this curious but rather enchanting young woman when compared to the Eilis we were introduced to at the start of the film.
At the root of this film, it is this sweet and innocent Irish girl caught in a whirlwind romance. During one of the Irish dances, she meets Tony (Emory Cohen) an Italian boy from Manhattan, whom she falls for very quickly. The chemistry on screen between Cohen and Ronan blossoms and is a joy to watch unfold, and becomes the centralised reason to continue watching.
As I mentioned Eilis becoming this enchanting character on-screen is down to the whirlwind romance and her confidence grows as does the relationship with Tony. Eilis finds colour and embraces the natural beauty that she possesses which is a far-cry from the Eilis we see board the boat at the start of the movie.
(Potential Spoiler – Very small one)
In an excellent couple of scenes, the tips that Eilis received on her first trip to the States comes full circle, as she becomes the character giving the tips to a young Irish girl on her first trip to the States. It happens often, this once-shy Irish girl that never put a foot wrong, becomes this outgoing, happy, confident and fascinating woman to watch on screen.
(End of potential spoiler)
As the chemistry develops on screen between Tony and Eilis, she is suddenly summoned back home after a tragic turn of events (I won’t spoil this). During this time, she has the usual catch up with her best friend, and begins spending time with Jim Farrell (Domnhall Gleeson) and she gets caught up being back home.
For an interesting turn in the story Jim and Eilis begin a friendship, however, this could’ve gone anyway possible, but the way the film plays out and with the pacing it worked perfectly. Naturally you become anxious watching the relationship blossom between Eilis and Jim, when half the world away awaits her love, Tony.
With this turn of events, it keeps the film fresh instead of the lost romance path it could’ve been led down. It has to be said that the film was made for the powerhouse performances given, topped off by Saoirse Ronan. And everyone is given room to breathe, as Tony taking lessons from his rather stereotypical Italian little brother on writing letters, to Jim being more than just a lad from the rugby club.
All this encapsulated and swept up in the 1950s fashion that is marvellously styled throughout the film is fantastic and an absolute joy to watch. The trouble is, at the core of it, the film is a love story, but what unfolds is a great character performances, helped on by the supporting members. (Some I realise I haven’t even mentioned like Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent). That being said, the film was truly outstanding and a simple joy to watch.