“You have to think like an American. You’ll feel so homesick that you’ll want to die, and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won’t kill you.”
I have been a fan of Saoirse Ronan since her early days as Michelle Pfeiffer‘s daughter in I Could Never Be Your Woman, and her Academy Award nominated role as Briony Tallis in Atonement, so naturally, I was very excited to see her performance in Brooklyn as soon as it was released in Australia. Yes, I had high expectations. And, guess what? They weren’t just met; they were exceeded.
Based on Colm Tóibín‘s 2009 novel by the same name, Brooklyn follows a young Irish girl’s journey to America where she is forced to leave the familiarity of her home, and experience a life she never even thought existed. With the help of her priest (played by Jim Broadbent), she begins to make a life for herself, which not only involves a degree in bookkeeping, but the company of a young Italian plumber. Suddenly, tragedy strikes, and she is compelled to choose between her new life and her old one back in Ireland.
Saoirse Ronan is a beautiful young actress who brings so much innocence to the role of Eilis in such a brilliantly nuanced way. It really isn’t a surprise that she is nominated for an Academy Award for the role! Emory Cohen is also perfectly cast as he epitomises the chivalrous love interest that we commonly associate with young men during the 1950s. Ronan and Cohen’s chemistry is magnetic and so real, which is quite rare in films revolving around young love. Their relationship truly encapsulates the trials and tribulations of intercultural romance which continues to remain relatable today, as evidenced by the difficulties of sustaining long distance relationships.
Brooklyn is a wonderful film that is relatable to anybody who has been pushed out of their comfort zone into an unexpected land of mystery and wonder, both literally and figuratively. It also emphasises the similarities between romance during the film’s era and nowadays, coupled with the internal emotions of developing into a young adult.
I saw this film with both my mother and brother who both absolutely adored this film. Consequently, it really is a film for everybody. While the film’s trailer highlights the primal theme of romance, this is not what the movie is centred around and is merely a supporting component of her journey. It will, however, leave you reminiscing about your younger years and the struggles of building a new life when you don’t want to forget your old one.
Brooklyn is exquisite.