It is just…the loveliest film. It’s warm, it’s engaging, it’s lovingly made. It’s simple, it’s effective, it’s thoughtful. It’s charming without being cheesy, it’s not a ‘feel good’ movie, but leaving the theater you do feel good. It’s a special little film and probably my favorite of 2015.
It stars Saoirse Ronan as Eilis, a young Irish girl given a job placement and a visa allowing her to immigrate to, you guessed it, Brooklyn. She struggles with painful homesickness, which is cured when she begins succeeding in college courses and meets a cute Italian guy. As I am currently struggling with some terrible homesickness, I can only hope a similar cure is around the corner.
However, a family tragedy brings her back home to Ireland, where she finds professional opportunities that weren’t present before she left, family that wants her to stay, and a cute rich guy who wants to romance her.
None of this is innovative. None of it is surprising. None of it is challenging. But oh my god, it just works. I was captivated throughout the entire film, quite literally laughing and crying, with a dumb grin on my face in between. The cast is just perfect, and the director has total faith in them all, giving each actor the space to explore their role fully, making each character so perfectly realized. Combine that with a scrip by Nicholas Hornby, and you have a film where you just care about each character so deeply. It doesn’t say anything terribly profound about the immigrant experience, but does have thoughtful moments on the experience, from the burden left on the siblings the family left behind, to the isolation of a first-wave generation who left behind a family and never made a new one, as they were too busy building a nation’s infrastructure. Also, the costumes and the score are perfect, neither showy, but both enhancing the experience.
Also, spoiler alert below the break
Personally, I’m #teamJim all the way, cause Domhnall Gleason is so dreamy, but I totally get why she chose Tony and Brooklyn in the end. The love stories, while wonderfully depicted, really are just metaphors, I suppose, for the choices and directions Eilis takes in life. The opportunities she finds when she returns to Ireland are the result of the growth she underwent in Brooklyn, which is in part thanks to the support and encouragement given to her by Tony–support that isn’t even proactive, but simply comes from his respect and enraptured affection for her.
Ok I have more effusive praise for this movie, but I’ll stop here. You all have to see it asap.