Director: John Crowley
Running Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes
There are beautiful movies, and then, there's "Brooklyn."
We try our best not to buy into "award show" hype when movies are first released because, well, the Academy often gets it wrong. We can also give our thoughts until the cows come home, but that doesn't mean we're right, either. For some, even before a film is released nationwide, once praises have been sung by other critics, minds have been permanently altered, leaving those who are susceptible to early chatter unable to distinguish between reviews already put forth and their own thoughts. We just happen to agree with critics this time around.
"Brooklyn" is truly a step above the rest, bursting with color and vibrancy in terms of content, camera shots, and story. This film is the definition of gorgeous, and the cinematography is almost unmatched this year in terms of its prettiness. In fact, from the moment the film began, one thing we were sure of was, above all else, it would at least have impeccable cinematography. Each scene seems to be crafted with the utmost care and filled with wonderful imagery and a purposeful color scheme to match the contents of each scene. To have an attractive movie is one thing, but could it also be delightful on top of simply looking nice? We are happy to report the answer is a resounding yes. "Brooklyn" is extremely well written and has a natural, realistic feel to it. Instead of a 48-year old male protagonist falling in love with a 21-year old female protagonist, Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen both look and act their ages, making it all the more lifelike. And since we mentioned Saoirse Ronan, her name is pronounced SEAR-SHA, not any other way like the gabbing ladies in the seats behind us would have you believe.
On top of the splendid writing, Ronan is a marvel. Astounding is not quite a strong enough word to describe her performance. We haven't seen such stunning conviction in quite a while, and the film's faithful feel is rooted in her performance. She may be the one to beat this year at the Oscars because she puts on a hell of an award-worthy performance as young Irish immigrant Eilis, who left Ireland looking for a better life than what her mother and sister had. It was Eilis' sister Rose, played by Fiona Glascott, and her writing to the church of Eilis' potential that earned her a trip to the states. Ronan is able to display the wide range of emotions that a person leaving home for a new country would have, from the fear and uncertainty, to the home sickness and sense of isolation, to her eventual acceptance of her new life in her new home. Emory Cohen is also stellar here, though he is a bit overshadowed by Ronan's gravitas. Together, their chemistry brimming with potential, they make this movie whole. After a family member dies, Eilis must return to Ireland, but not without some fight and fallout between she and Tony. Once back in Ireland, Eilis, who grew up in a small, chatty, everyone always in your business community, has her entire town urging her to stay put, pushing her towards a relationship with an Irish man named Jim Farrell, played by Domhnall Gleeson, who is a kind man in his own right and has been there for Eilis' family while she was away. This, of course, burdens her with the question of where her home really is and if she should stick with what's familiar, or go back home to where she was just finally beginning to feel like she had a home with Tony in America.
At its core, "Brooklyn" is a love story, but it is not one filled with the grand, over-the-top gestures and unrealistic expectations of love with which Hollywood has become accustomed. It is a love story about two working class people, who were at one time separated by an ocean, simply finding each other and being right for each other. That's it. Just love. Sure, this love gets tested, but even in the face of uncertainty, we wanted, nay, felt like we needed them to be together, like they were one of the last relationships to exist and be cherished. After 346 movies in the theater, it's nice to feel something, anything, once leaving a movie theater. Usually, these feeling are reserved for anger when we discover how bad a movie is, but rarely do we find ourselves wholly believing in love after we've watched a film. On-screen romances are not what they used to be, but this one? This one is sensible, beautiful, tender, and above all, believable. "Brooklyn" is both honest and touching, realistic and emotional, inspiring and sad, but even in its sadness, it ends up being uplifting. Everyone can enjoy this movie, it's just matter of making time and room for it on your Netflix queue. Give this one a chance, and we're sure you, too, will be as enchanted as we are.
My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 9.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~98%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!