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Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Released 6 November 2015
Director John Crowley
Starring



Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Michael Zegen, Mary O'Driscoll, Julie Walters
Writer(s) Nick Hornby
Producer(s) Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
Origin

Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada
Running Time 111 minutes
Genre Drama, romance
Rating 12A
84

Home is where the heart is.

In many ways, Irish people have come to an uneasy truce with the spectre of emigration. Today, when young people leave their native shore, it is often out of a desire to see the world rather than a grim necessity. Keeping in touch with Mam or Dad is as easy as composing a text. Still, no matter how many Skype calls you make, there is still a hole in the lives of the traveller as well as the ones left behind; that best friend who you can't drag out for a midweek pint, that son or daughter no longer at the table for Sunday dinner. Brooklyn follows the journey of one such adventurer as she leaves her hometown to start a new life in America and in a gentle but devastating way, speaks to everyone who has ever felt the pangs of homesickness.

The story begins in 1950s Enniscorthy, where Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), a bright young woman, is preparing to leave her sister and mother (Fiona Glascott and Jane Brennan) to pursue a better life in America. At first, the homesickness is almost too much for her to bear but soon life in New York becomes easier, thanks in part to her new boyfriend Tony (Emory Cohen). When this newly found peace is shattered by a tragedy, Eilis travels home and finds that she must decide between the excitement of her new life in Brooklyn and her beloved hometown with new suitor Jim (Domhnall Gleeson).

I'll be honest, Brooklyn turned me into an emotional wreck several times over during its running time – and the film wins its tears fairly, through an onslaught of charm rather than through cynical manipulation. Ronan gives a fantastic central performance that is bursting with warmth - a quality that is echoed throughout the cast on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, that may be Brooklyn's trump card; this is a film about genuinely good people dealing with momentous changes in their lives. The only villain of the piece is loneliness.

Brooklyn is a beautifully crafted piece of filmmaking from John Crowley – an Irish story that will speak to people from all over the world thanks to its quality performances and crowd-pleasing warmth.

- Linda O'Brien