In 1950s Ireland and New York, young Ellis Lacey has to choose between two men and two countries.
ActorsStarring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Emily Bett Rickards, Nora-Jane Noone, Michael Zegen, Paulino Nunes, Jenn Murray, Eve Macklin, Jessica Paré, Maeve McGrath, Jenn Murray, Aine Ni Mhuiri, Jim Broadbent, Eileen O'Higgins, Julie Walters, Matt Glynn, Brid Brennan, Emma Lowe, Barbara Drennan, Gillian McCarthy, Fiona Glascott, Jane Brennan, Peter Campion, Eva Birthistle, James Corscadden, Mary O'Driscoll, Jane Wheeler, Adrien Benn, Alain Goulem, Iarla O'Lionaird, Ellis Rockburn, Erika Rosenbaum
Brooklyn has three oscar nominations under its belt: Best Motion Picture, Best Lead Actress, and Best Writing. I can understand why it didn’t win, but I am still scratching my head as to why on earth it got nominated in the first place.
It’s 1951, and we meet Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a goody two-shoes teenager about to be ship out from Ireland to the US to start a new life. Ireland has little to offer her in terms of work of life, so her sister has arranged a way out and a new future for her in the form of a job in, you guessed it: Brooklyn. The voyage to America is fairly uneventful bar a few minor inconveniences, and so Eilis passes immigration and starts her new life.
She’s a bit homesick at first but slowly she settles in, helped in particular by meeting young Italian plumber and suitor Tony. By the time her life is looking pretty good, surprise surprise, some bad news from the home country arrives and she hurries back to Ireland. Once there, the homesickness she though she had left behind her returns in earnest, and when here too a suitor appears, Eilis needs to make some choices.
The story is as uninsipred as it is uninspiring. Other than Eilis, the characters all remain flat and shallow, and the intended emotional rollercoaster does not succeed in taking you beyond dipping your toe in the kiddie pool of feelings. Saoirse Ronan’s own performance is adequate but nothing more than that. She never shows any real or raw emotion, so as she remains composed in her supposed anguish, we remain bored in our seats. This is not the kind of composed and restrained emotional pain and frustration of an Anthony Hopkins in Remains of the Day by any means, this is just bland. If Ronan weren’t so young, I’d suspect her facial muscles had been frozen by too much botox. Penned by Nick Hornsby, it lacks the honesty and humour of High Fidelity. Except for the scenes around Julie Walter’s table – they offer good, if too little, comedic relief.
It’s two hours of competent film making; you will not hate it, you will not love it, you will have forgotten this movie in a few weeks and never feel the need to rewatch it.