Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley is a safe and comfortable little film. Lacking any real consequence or drama – Brooklyn is a film that feels like settling into a cosy night at home, pulling on the blanket and watching whatever happens to be on Netflix. Though this comforting feeling is nice, it does come with a slight hint of boredom as you wait for something of any real excitement to perk you up.
The story in Brooklyn sees young Eilis, played by Saoirse Ronan be given the opportunity to leave her mundane life in Ireland and begin a new life in New York. Leaving does however come with the sad fact that she must move far away from her family and friends, and start fresh in a place where she knows no one. Eilis will go on a journey of self-discovery and a journey of new and exciting experiences, but such a far divide between her and who she knows back home is inevitable to form.
So what I absolutely have to talk about first is the brilliant lead performance by Saoirse Ronan. She headlines the entire film and does a great job of it. Evolving from a shy girl from a small town in Ireland, to a confident and diversely interesting character is something she does seamlessly. If nothing else what Ronan does in the film is what makes it an enjoyable film to watch. Her performance and her character pull you in and involve you within the story, I liked the character of Eilis and I supported her on her journey – this is both achieved by some great writing of her character, but most of all a performance from Saoirse Ronan that carries the entire film.
Supporting both Saoirse Ronan and the character of Eilis in the film are some great side characters. The saying that comes to mind when the other characters in this film are considered is “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” There was a time in the beginning of the film where I was asking myself why almost every character seemed to be portrayed as stuck up, hateful people – it was odd and I was unsure of why I kept continually getting that feeling, but what ended up happening was that the film would then dive a little deeper into these characters and their front facing facades would slip away, and not only does Eilis truly learn who these people are but we the audience do as well.
The humour of these characters starts to show, and the reasons why they are who they are start to surface – it became a fun learning experience along with Eilis. In particular Julie Walters character brings a great level of heart and levity to the scenes that she is in – she delivers a character who I could have happily watched a whole separate film about. My only gripe with this aspect of the film is that the film sets up all of these intriguing characters, gives us an insight to who they are – only for it to go and cast them aside in the end, no substantial wrap up is afforded to some great characters, and that is something I would have certainly enjoyed/appreciated.
Now something that the film Brooklyn does that sees it dancing a thin line between something missing from a lot of films of recent and also requiring something that a lot of other films do better is reality and consequence. I’ll explain.
Brooklyn is a film that delivers a heart-warming level of reality. Eilis’ story is simple but feels real (yes there are some hammed up lovey dovey elements to the film) but the journey of Eilis feels genuine and involving. There are few films that go for as simple and sweet of a story these days – more often than not there is something bigger or more farfetched that lead stories like this – not in Brooklyn – this is a film that tells a small story and enjoys itself doing it.
The problem that this does create though, and is the thing that I was mentioning a moment a go (consequence) is that Brooklyn is so simple and safe in its delivery of its story, that no real consequence enters into the film. I never felt on edge or worried about the decisions or struggles that Eilis had to face. To be honest Eilis has a pretty easy time of it. Life meanders along for her, and the crucial moments of her life (while sad or heart breaking at times) never really get the ferocious interest part of the brain going. There were a few moments in the film where I wasn’t fully concentrating on proceedings, and when I tuned back in I was wasn’t lost or concerned about what I may have missed – I instead just continued along with the nice little adventure of Eilis.
So Brooklyn is an interesting decision for me – while I enjoyed my time with the film, it didn’t really leave much of an impression on me. It was an enjoyable little film, a film that I saw, and things move on. Brooklyn is not a film that my memory will race back to when I’m considering my favourites of the year, but that doesn’t mean that it is a bad film – far from it in fact. Brooklyn is a nice Sunday afternoon/night type of film.
So I’m going to recommend Brooklyn, but with a slight caveat (oh how I love a caveat). Yes see Brooklyn but perhaps don’t rush out to see it. Take your time, maybe catch it on Netflix when it comes around – while I’m sure you’ll enjoy the film, I’m also sure that you won’t feel as if you’re missing out if you didn’t see it immediately.
So have you seen Brooklyn? What did you think of the film? Perhaps leave me a little comment down below and let me know. If you want to keep up with the rest of my reviews then you can follow me on Twitter,@GavinsTurtle. All that’s left to say is that I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.