Brooklyn Movie Review
A young Irish woman immigrates to New York to start a new life, and your eyes start rolling at all the possible ways the drama Brooklyn could be as dull as its title. But somehow, just somehow--whether from the terrific performance by Saoirse Ronan, or the fun screenplay by Nick Hornby (An Education), or the engaging direction by John Crowley (Boy A)--Brooklyn overcomes its seeming limitations..
Brooklyn is a struggle to review, because it’s hardly groundbreaking, overpowering or even sensational--and yet it’s consistently entertaining, well made and arguably one of the better movies of 2015.
As good as the screenplay is, the movie’s success rides on the shoulders of Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), whose performance is far from flashy but still masterful in its delivery. Ronan draws the audience into her evolving world, allowing us to experience her emotions and motivations even if the conflict she faces is minimal in the scheme of things. Ronan could easily land her second Oscar nomination for the role.
Brooklyn is highly entertaining as Eilis (Ronan) struggles to adapt to fast-moving New York, while her homeland continues to attempt to draw her back to her quaint former life. Though it would have been good to see a bit more screen time from Emory Cohen to better develop the relationship between Tony and Eilis--while the two actors have good chemistry, you can never really tell if Eilis loves him or simply tolerates him--the various character dynamics put to screen make for several fun, funny or at least heartwarming scenes.
The movie stumbles a bit once Eilis returns to Ireland and the characters and environments Crowley spent an hour establishing evaporate in a heartbeat, but the film rediscovers its footing as its true purpose reveals itself. Brooklyn becomes much more interesting, and oddly suspenseful, as you truly don’t know what will happen.
Brooklyn isn’t perfect, but it’s a surprisingly mainstream period piece with plenty of entertainment value, a great performance by Saoirse Ronan and an intriguing, unpredictable third act.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.