Saoirse Ronan gives one of the most captivating performances you will see in 2015.
Simply stated, Brooklyn is a fantastic, engaging film. It tells the story of a young Irish girl who immigrates to New York in the early 1950s, and it is a movie that every young woman will embrace with joy.
The talented Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis, an Irish lass leaving her mother and sister to face the unknown in the United States. Lacking a formal education and facing ghastly seasickness on the trip across the Atlantic, she finds a place with other young girls in a Brooklyn boarding house while taking a job at a Bloomingdale-like department store.
There are some special performances in this film, none more so than from Ms. Ronan. Likely to receive an Oscar nomination, she builds on previous performances in memorable films like Atonement (2007), The Way Back (2010), the incredible Hannah (2011) and The Host (2013). Hard to believe that this enormously talented actress is only 21 years of age.
But there are other characters who you will not forget. Jane Brennan plays Eilis’ Irish mother who aches to have her back home while not wanting to stand in her way. Brid Brennan plays Miss Kelly, Eilis’ employer in Ireland, who may be one of the nastiest, selfish women you have seen on the screen this year. However, Julie Waters is a knockout playing Ms. Kehoe, the extraordinarily caustic head mistress of Eilis’ boarding house in Brooklyn. There were repeated scenes involving young immigrant girls around a dinner table that left the entire audience laughing.
Not to be forgotten are two wonderful performances by Donhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen, two young men who Eilis loves. Cohen lives in Brooklyn with his Italian immigrant family, while Gleeson is a wealthy Irish lad with a heart of gold. Both men are hardworking and incredibly decent, and Eilis has to choose who she marries and who she leaves behind.
With Ms. Ronan wrestling with the consequences of the magnetic pull on her heart on separate continents, she works on improving her education with the help of the legendary Jim Broadbent, here playing a priest who provides assistance at every turn. In the process, Director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby bring us a tiny, atmospheric film about immigrants who leave a homeland in tears as they set out on an adventure of unknown consequences. This is a brilliant movie that you absolutely have to see.