Film Review: Brooklyn

BROOKLYN

Director John Crowley’s Brooklyn is a period romance that will charm viewers. The film feels safe but accomplished.

Eillis Lacey has limited opportunity to work in her native Ireland. Travelling to New York, like many other young Irish people at that time, Eillis finds herself far from her family and all she has known in Brooklyn…

Directed by John Crowley and scripted by Nick Hornsby, based on Colm Toibin’s novel, Brooklyn is a film about an immigrant in the 1950s. The film tells the tale of Eillis, a shy Irish girl who learns to call Brooklyn her home. The film does not concentrate on the harsh realities of immigrants at such a time, instead focusing on the protagonist’s struggle to adjust to her new life and a burgeoning romance.

Hornsby has managed to draw a sympathetic character with protagonist Eillis. At first shy and homesick, it is easy to empathise with her. On her return visit to Ireland, Eillis becomes less sympathetic. This is because the audience is asked to invest in her relationship with Tony. The strength of Brooklyn is the skill of the writing in making Eillis sympathetic, then less sympathetic, before redeeming her.

Brooklyn is well paced and entertaining throughout. The romance between Eillis and Tony is wonderfully depicted. The 1950s setting allows for an old-fashioned style of romance; this gentle courting is delightful to watch. Art direction and production values are great; there is a polished look to the film, with its wonderful styling and costumes, which matches the tone of the film.

The setting of Brooklyn is a rather sanitised vision of New York and Ireland in the 1950s. There is no real sense of the socio-political issues of the time. Rather than a film about immigration in the period, the film is a personal story and a romance. Saoirse Ronan delivers a convincing performance as Eillis. She has good chemistry with Emory Cohen’s Tony. Julie Walters provides laughs as Mrs Kehoe.

Beguiling to the eye and charming throughout, Brooklyn is a wonderful slice of escapism.

Brooklyn is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2015.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of cinematic treasure this week, with the new A Million Ways to Die in the West trailer, Noah, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and more…

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Warning: this A Million Ways to Die in the West trailer is red band. A Million Ways to Die in the West is the latest film from Seth MacFarlane, who also leads a cast that includes Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson. A Million Ways to Die in the West is set for release on 6th June 2014 in the UK.

Noah

This is the Superbowl TV spot for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. It is an intriguing prospect; a director like Aronofsky doing a large-scale biblical epic. The story of Noah does not seem meaty enough for a feature film, so it plot must be fleshed out somehow. The mystery of the unicorns perhaps. Noah is released in UK cinemas on 4th April 2014.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Black Widow

This new character poster for Captain America: The Winter Soldier suggests Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow has a prominent role to play in this Marvel sequel. Given her somewhat ambiguous nature in previous appearances, it will be interesting to see what director’s Anthony and Joe Russo do with her here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is hits UK screens on 26th March 2014.

The LEGO Movie

I used to love Lego so I find The LEGO Movie appealing. From the above featurette, the film smartly does not seem to take itself seriously. With a host of star names and featuring Batman, I am hoping the film will be an amusing adventure. The LEGO Movie is released in cinemas on 14th February 2014.

A Long Way Down

An adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel, A Long Way Down offers a rather macabre premise made humorous. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette and Aaron Paul, A Long Way Down is out in UK cinemas on 21st March 2014.

Starred Up

Starred Up posterStarred Up is a new British drama starring Jack O’Connell and Rupert Friend. The film is about Eric, a troubled teenager transitioning from young offenders’ institute to prison. You can watch the trailer here. Starred Up is released on 21st March 2014.

Maleficent

This new trailer for Maleficent was released earlier this week, with Lana Del Ray’s rendition of ‘Once Upon a Dream’. Angelina Jolie was looks like she was made for the title role, in physical appearance at least. Maleficent looks like it will be quite dark, going back to its fairy tale roots. Maleficent hits UK cinemas on 30 May 2014.

The Invisible Woman

Here is a TV spot for the upcoming film The Invisible Woman. The story of Charles Dickens and his young lover Nelly, the film stars Ralph Fiennes (who also directs) and Felicity Jones. You can read my review here. The Invisible Woman is released nationwide in the UK on 21st February 2014.