Review: Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn

An adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s bestselling novel, Brooklyn works well as a study of one girl’s resilience, but lacks the underpinning force to uphold interest. Her life in Ireland aimless, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) relocates to New York, where she falls in love with an assertive Italian-American (Emory Cohen) only to be pulled back to the comfortable simplicity of home. Front and centre is a beautifully tender performance from Ronan, who rises to the challenge as lead, capturing both Eilis’ vulnerability and inner conflict as her heart is pulled in two opposing directions. The script, however, merely drifts along, scant on drama and forward drive (though Eilis has a decision to make, it never feels in any way critical). This extends to the supporting turns. As solid as they are, they don’t add anything of particular note, other than seeing Julie Walters play the comic relief. All this means is that, while delightful and meaningful on a small scale level, the film relies too much on Ronan to provide depth. John Crowley’s direction is sensitive to the material in a way that sometimes enhances it, but more often than not draws further attention to the modest influence Brooklyn bears.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Brooklyn (2015)”

  1. I think you’re being a tad unfair with this one. “Brooklyn” never felt like it was meant to be an “emotionally commanding drama.” Commanding is a rather strong and intense term, and this movie is by no means intense, nor does it expect it’s story to be. It’s a comedy/drama that’s honest and heartfelt but doesn’t try to tug at your heartstrings more than a few specific and meaningful times. And while the side characters didn’t offer as much as I thought they should have, and the suitor in Ireland (Domhall Gleeson) could have had more to him, I never felt like the film lacked significant substance anywhere. It was also the most singularly enjoyable film I watched while attending the Savannah Film Festival, out of the other films that I saw which included “Suffragette,” “Young,” and “I Saw the Light.”

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    1. I see where you’re coming from. But I came away feeling unfulfilled and as if the script could have had a little more substance to hold my attention. It was funny and pretty and obviously well meaning without trying too hard, but I lost interest along the way and was only really pulled back by Ronan’s commitment to character and the weight she brought.

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      1. I can also see why you would come away with that result. Depending on one’s preference with pacing and dramatic tension, a movie like this can seem like it’s not doing as much as it could. So I guess I don’t fault you there.

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  2. I really enjoyed this film! I think the tussle between choosing the two men could have had more to it. I only say this because the trailer made out that it was a choice between two men. I felt comfortable and felt the warmth of the film. I also felt the heart ache at the loss of rose, but I didn’t see any heart ache over her American love.

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