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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 get complicated...Written by
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.
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