Navigating the New World

Brooklyn

brooklyn_ver2

Director: John Crawley

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Domhnall Gleeson, Emily Bett Rickards, Jessica Pare, Maeve McGrath, Eileen O’Higgins

After her sparkling debut as the precocious and misguided Briony Tallis in director Joe Wright’s handsome film Atonement, Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan has made a string of less memorable films including Hanna and The Host until appearing as the radiant lead in this 1950’s love story Brooklyn, where she dazzles as the Irish immigrant Eilis fresh on arrival in New York City.

Director John Crawley’s adaptation of the novel by Irish author Colm Toibin Brooklyn is a soft-focused, brilliantly acting and utterly charming love story. Ronan is superb as Eilis who arrives in the Big Apple and stays at a ladies boarding house run by the ever glamourous Mrs Kehoe wonderfully played by Julie Walters (Billy Elliott).

brooklyn

Soon the sensible Eilis befriends the other guests and while working at an American department store is guided by the fashionable manageress Miss Fortini played by French Canadian actress Jessica Pare who brought added style to the final two seasons of Mad Men.

At an Irish club Friday night social, Eilis meets the charming and dimple-faced Tony, an Italian immigrant, played by Emory Cohen (The Place beyond the Pines). Their initial courtship is cut short when Eilis has to unexpectedly return to Ireland for a family emergency. Back in the Green Isle, she is wooed by the handsome and eligible bachelor Jim Farrell played by Domhnall Gleeson (Anna Karenina, About Time, and Shadow Dancer) in the weeks leading up to her school friend Nancy’s wedding.

Director John Crawley and acclaimed screenwriter Nick Hornby (About a Boy, An Education) do an excellent rendition of making a good old fashioned love story in the manner of Mona Lisa Smile, Circle of Friends and is ably assisted by Saoirse Ronan superbly acting in the lead role, as her character Eilis navigates all the nuances and difficulties of life in the New World.

Audiences should look out for Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (Iris) as the benevolent father Flood as well as Emily Bett Rickards as the cheeky companion Patty last seen on the hit TV show Arrow.

Brooklyn with its gorgeous production design, immaculate 1950’s costumes is reminiscent of a less complicated old fashioned love stories and will definitely find an appreciative audience, judging by how packed the cinema was on a Sunday afternoon. Recommended viewing for those that cherished films such as Circle of Friends, Mona Lisa Smile and more recently The Immigrant starring Marion Cotillard.

 

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