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Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

BROOK­LYN ( M)

Di­rec­tor: John Crowley ( Is Any­body There?, Boy A) Star­ring: Saoirse Ro­nan, Emory Co­hen, Jim Broad­bent, Fiona Glas­cott, Domh­nall Glee­son, Julie Wal­ters Ver­dict: Home is where the heart’s hard­est de­ci­sion must be made

AT once openly ten­der­hearted and sub­tly tough- minded, Brook­lyn is that rare feel­good ro­man­tic drama that finds some­thing fresh and truly af­fect­ing in the most fa­mil­iar and un­af­fected places.

Eilis Lacey ( a lu­mi­nous Saoirse Ro­nan) would have been per­fectly happy to live out her en­tire life in her small home vil­lage in Ire­land.

How­ever, full- time work is hard to find, and her older sis­ter Rose ( Fiona Glas­cott) is al­ways urg­ing her to leave for greener pas­tures. So it is re­luc­tantly, yet res­o­lutely that Eilis must cross the seas in a crowded pas­sen­ger liner and step onto the streets of 1950s New York.

Cour­tesy of the joint ef­forts of Rose and a kindly ex­pat priest ( Jim Broad­bent), Eilis has a po­si­tion as a shop­girl wait­ing for her, as well as a room in a board­ing house for young Ir­ish im­mi­grant women.

Un­der­stand­ably, in spite of all the like- minded ladies around her, Eilis pines painfully for home on a nightly ba­sis. Only grad­u­ally – and on her own terms – does Eilis ac­cli­ma­tise to the Amer­i­can way of life.

The cat­a­lyst for this evolv­ing change of heart is Tony ( Emory Co­hen), a charis­matic young Ital­ian plumber who in­tro­duces him­self by con­fi­dently stat­ing he has “a thing for Ir­ish girls”.

How­ever, there is a sin­cer­ity be­hind the swag­ger that im­me­di­ately shines through, and Eilis be­gins to spend a lot of time with Tony and his colour­ful ex­tended fam­ily.

While what fol­lows is pre­dictable enough in its own right – yes, Eilis and Tony are soon head over heels in love – Brook­lyn never us lets us for­get that our hero­ine is still hold­ing a fiery torch for the Ire­land she left be­hind.

So when Eilis re­ceives an un­ex­pected chance to re­turn for a while, she takes it with­out a se­cond thought. All the old favourite haunts and friendly faces be­gin to work their magnetic magic. Even though things have changed quite a lot in the vil­lage in the years since she’s been gone.

Whether Eilis wants to or not, a self- defin­ing choice must be made and lived with forever­more: should she stay, or should she go?

Soul­fully acted and flaw­lessly con­structed from start to fin­ish, Brook­lyn tells a uni­ver­sally ac­ces­si­ble story with a per­sonal warmth and in­ti­macy that is truly strik­ing.

Un­fail­ingly mod­est yet rigidly true to it­self, this mov­ingly mem­o­rable adap­ta­tion ( scripted by About a Boy au­thor Nick Hornby) of Colm Toibin’s ac­claimed 2009 novel makes for an in­tel­li­gent and spir­ited screen ex­pe­ri­ence.

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