Brooklyn: A Classic Film to Be
“Brooklyn” is one of the prettiest films I’ve seen in a long time, as well as a film that feels like updated classic cinema.
The story of Irish girl Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), who leaves a beautiful but economically stifled small town in Ireland in the early 1950s to move to America. America’s postwar economic boom is seen as the land of possibility, especially compared to sleepy Ireland where little is going on.
How does Eilis manage to move to America? Eilis’ older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) has managed—with the help of a kindly priest– to arrange a job in a department store in Brooklyn, with a spot in a respectable boardinghouse for Eilis.
The story hits all the marks that ought to make it feel dull and shopworn, from the colorful landlady at the boardinghouse, to the greenhorn travel mistakes (stay away from mutton stew on a boat!) to being laughed at because of your recent arrival in the county.
Soon Eilis meets at fellow at a church event that looks like it couldn’t have anything at all to offer in the way of romance. Soon she has to decide how much of her life is in Brooklyn and how much of it is back in Ireland. With a screenplay by Nick Hornby, there had to be complications in love.
The story feels true and fresh and lovely, in that “they don’t make them like that anymore.” Except sometimes they do.
If anyone wants to sell a version of Eilis’ bathing costume from the movie, I’d love to buy one!
My Boston-Irish-Catholic mother-in-law whose mother came over from Ireland in the 1920s is coming for a visit later this week. I’m going to make sure and tell her that this is a movie she needs to see.
“Brooklyn” screened at the 2015 Austin Film Fest.