For centuries, America has seemed like a shining beacon to those seeking a better life.
In the new movie, Brooklyn, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), is a young woman living in Ireland in the 1950’s. Taking her sister, Rose’s (Fiona Glascott) advice, Eilis takes advantage of the opportunity to move to Brooklyn, NY. Taking a job in a department store and living in a boarding house run by Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters), Eilis is initially homesick. After some time, she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian-American boy whom she quickly becomes involves with.
When tragedy pulls Eilis back to Ireland, she is torn. She can go back to her life in America (and to Tony) or stay in Ireland, where opportunities have opened up for her in the form of a bookkeeping job and a possible life with Jim (Domhnall Gleason). In the stages of early adulthood, Eilis must make a choice about her life and her future.
Brooklyn (based on the novel by Colm Toibin) is one of the best movies of 2015 (and not just because the film takes its title from my hometown). Eilis’s story is something we can all relate to. Growing up, moving away from home for the first time, making decisions that could potentially change our lives. Even though Eilis’s experiences are specific to her life, there is a universal quality to her journey that draws the audience in.
While the film was made in Canada and Ireland, it still feels authentic to this native Brooklynite. And kudos must be given to Emory Cohen (who evokes a young Marlon Brando in his performance) for his New York accent. It was just enough to be authentic without being too heavy.
The best movies, I find, are the ones with characters whom the audience can connect with emotionally. I was certainly able to connect with Eilis as she goes on this journey.
I absolutely recommend this film. While I have not yet compiled my top ten list of movies for 2015, I can say with some certainty that Brooklyn will be on it.