Brooklyn Review - A Classic Romantic Love Story

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BROOKLYN, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, brings to the screen a story of hope, courage and bravery, of embracing the chance of finding a new life, of sacrifice, and the hope of the future and the eyes to see when destiny arrives.

Directed by John Crowley, BROOKLYN, stars Saoirse Ronan, Domhall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Matt Glynn, Brid Brennan, Emory Cohen, Fiona Glascott, Julie Walters, Mary O’Driscoll. BROOKLYN was written for the screen by Nick Hornby based on a novel from Colm Toibin.

BROOKLYN opens with the camera panning the tiny village of an unknown Irish hamlet, a place where everyone knows everyone else, where life offers little hope for change. A place where the church, the social club and the local pub represent the only activities.

On this morning, we meet Eilis (pronounced Alish) as she is hurrying through the deserted cobblestone streets. She is a clerk, working for Miss Kelly, played by Brid Brennan, who happens of course to be the meanest and most pretentious woman in the village.

Eilis is working up the courage to tell her, she is off to America. Her sister Rose, played by Fiona Glascott, a well-respected bookkeeper, has made all the arrangements. Miss Kelly, of course terminates her services upon hearing the news.

Now finally voicing the changes, it becomes easier to prepare, so she is hugging her sister, waving good-by form the deck, tugged by the emotional upheaval. Unsure if change, at least this much change, is really worth it.

Our girl also unprepared for sea travel finds herself surprised by the harshness of the oceans waves, and felled with a severe case of seasickness.

Soon she sees the Lady Liberty in the Harbor and heeding the instructions of her cabin mate she moves through customs with the confidence of a seasoned traveler and off she goes to find her future in the streets of Brooklyn.

The Irish in Ireland joke about the amount of native Irish who immigrated to BROOKLYN to find their future. Our Eilis is no different as Rose made sure she was connected to the local parish home to Father Flood played by Jim Broadbent.

Soon Eilis is going through all the emotions, living in  a boarding house she is surrounded by other women who are helping her navigate the challenges of life in 1950’s BROOKLYN. Able to secure employment she is working and is so lonely.

The homesickness is worse than the seasickness, and the ache in her heart is obvious. She wants to be Irish girl in Ireland and not an Irish girl in BROOKLYN. Soon Father Flood has the situation managed and Eilis is enrolled in night school, and finally the loneliness is less.

This is where BROOKLYN takes a turn. She finally meets someone who makes her laugh and think about the future instead of living in the memories of the past.

Opposites do attract as our nice Irish, never really been out of Ireland until now, Eilis, has begun to date a nice Italian named Tony, played by Emory Cohen.

As the two become closer, he invites her to meet his family which is a fun, lighthearted moment.

The path to true love never did run smooth and it doesn’t here also. The obstacle of course for Eilis and Tony, our young lovers, who are just forging a future is of course the past. Tragedy strikes and Eilis is called home, back to Ireland.

This emerald Isle is now warm and welcoming. She has essentially inherited employment, life is different, and all the pieces of what could have been a solid future, before the fire tested one she endured the growing pains to create, presented themselves finely to her.

Suddenly she was left with a choice, stay or return to Brooklyn, to Tony, to an unknown but hopeful and happy future, a new family or stay in Ireland.

I enjoyed BROOKLYN. The story was beautifully written. The talent pulled you into their world, the anguish of loneliness was real. The hope of the first dance, the fun, young romance and newness of love.  

The director pans and pauses, inhaling the view of the Irish coastline, as one would if one were returning, memorizing the stunning stretch of white sands, the sea foam green waters, whitecaps, creating a cemented memory. It is stunning.

BROOKLYN brings back film-making at its finest. Classic, romantic, a genuine love story.

BROOKLYN opens in theaters everywhere November 4, 2015. Check local listings.

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