Brooklyn serves as a showcase for the extremely talented Saoirse Ronan to play the protagonist in this character-film. The film revolves around a young Irish woman who moves to the United States and falls in love, but just as everything looks as though the film is about to wrap up, a plot twist shakes her world. The screenplay is wonderfully woven with a great cast of supporting characters who help elevate the story and plot. The film is visually stunning with picturesque cinematography that sets the scene so elegantly and effortlessly. The score written by Michael Brook also ties itself so effortlessly into the film and provides such beautifully crafted nuances that you rarely find in low budget (11 million dollars) films.
Saoirse Ronan carries the majority of this film as Eilis Lacey the wonderfully developed protagonist who we follow through the film. Ronan plays the character with such convincing spirit and goes through a broad spectrum of emotions. Ronan also has great on-screen chemistry with the other actors, most notably Emory Cohen. Cohen who plays Ronan’s love interest also stands out as a very remarkably addition to the film; there is one scene especially where we see Cohen with his on-screen family where we really get a glance into this character’s life and Cohen’s wonderful acting really bursts through. Domhnall Gleeson also stars in this movie as Ronan’s secondary love interest. Gleeson also shows remarkable acting chops in this role which may not be as interesting as the other characters in the movie, but the character serves its purpose and accents Ronan’s performance wonderfully. Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters, two of the greatest British actors of our time, also star in this film with smaller supporting roles that have just enough screen-time to satisfy, but not quite enough to steal the thunder from the younger leads. I also think that it is appropriate to point out the child actor, James DiGiacomo, who plays the younger brother of Emory Cohen and who really stood out to me as a very funny and potential-filled actor who I hope we will see more of in upcoming films.
The screenplay, written by Nick Hornby and based on the book by Colm Toibin, is also wonderfully and realistically written. It seems that each of the characters are written with such a unique and personal voice. The story itself is not necessarily a new or ground-breaking cinematic experience and it occasionally leans upon the cliché, but there is enough finely-woven character and life into this film. There is though one aspect of the screenplay that really stands out as one of the best set-ups and pay-offs of cinematic history that gives the viewer chills. The direction of the film also seems to occasionally lean upon the cliché and overused, but the previously mentioned Cohen scene with his family is very new and refreshing to watch and that is—in big part—due to John Crowley’s occasionally spot-on direction. As mentioned previously, this film looks absolutely stunning, especially many of the New York scenes. There are also a couple scenes which take place at Ronan’s character’s workplace where the camera-work is both inventive and genuine and gives the viewer an incredible insight into the setting and surrounding of the characters with such ease yet detail. The soundtrack is personally my favorite film score at the moment. The score is written by Michael Brook and serves as one of the few films where the score actually has an impact on the plot of the movie with one particular song that in just a few minutes develops Ronan’s character organically and powerfully. The rest of the score also ties into the movie naturally and powerfully as it undertones and accents the movie so delicately and incredibly powerful.
The movie serves as a wonderfully emotional telling of travel and home that truly takes the viewer into the story and characters in this incredibly paced and visual feast of story-telling and character. The acting in this film is incredible with a powerful performance by Saoirse Ronan which I supported by a wonderful cast of supporting actors and actresses that help shape the film and leading character. The story itself may have been a little tired, but that was quickly forgotten when confronted by all the wonderful aspects and assets of this film.
Best Aspect- Michael Brook’s score
Worst Aspect- The tired and cliché storyline