Home away from home
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.