Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) departs Ireland and her sister and her mother for 1950s Brooklyn. When she arrives homesickness quickly wraps around her. Those shackles of homesickness start to diminish when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen). They begin their romance and Eilis starts seeing Brooklyn as home. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by a call from home, and she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
It’s a complex story that Screenwriter Nick Hornby and Director John Crowley have made simple. It’s in the Film’s simplicity that lies the most heart a film has had in years. Audiences are abruptly swept away with Eilis to Brooklyn and then taken back to Ireland. It’s as though Eilis isn’t the only one taking this journey, but the audience as well. Some Films you look at, others you live within. It’s because of Hornby’s writing and Crowley’s direction that audiences will feel as though they are laughing, crying and dancing with Eilis.
The casting for this Film is magnificent. Mainly Saoirse Ronan, who can captivate an entire feeling through only her eyes. Yet, she doesn’t only use her eyes. She uses her breath, eyebrows, smile, teeth, and even her posture to convey the thoughts in Eilis‘ mind. Thoughts audiences usually never get to see on screen but Ronan makes them known. Ronan’s not the only actor that shines in this Film. Emory Cohen has his breakout performance as Tony. Like Ronan, Cohen uses facial expressions to convey Tony’s thoughts. Cohen’s infectious smile conveys all the thoughts going through Tony’s head. Then there’s Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Jim Farrell. Gleeson’s only in the Film for 45 minutes, but makes the audience fall for Jim the way Eilis has. It’s through these three superb performances that audiences will have a hard time choosing between these two lads. Let alone begin to think about what Eilis will chose.
Brooklyn appears to be a love story, but it’s so much more. It’s a coming-of-age story about a young woman’s identity. More importantly, it’s about knowing who you are no matter where you find yourself.
Mongrel Media release BROOKLYN Friday, November 13, 2015.