7.5/10. Dan Harmon, creator of Community is known for several things -- his trademark bottle of vodka, his tendency to spill his guts to audiences full of strangers, but also his story circle. The story circle is a device that Harmon uses as a blueprint for nearly any story he writes or supervises. It offers a series of steps to telling a story: 1. A character is in a zone of comfort; 2. But they want something; 3. They enter an unfamiliar situation; 4. Adapt to it; 5. Get what they wanted; 6. Pay a heavy price for it; 7. Then return to their familiar situation; 8. Having changed.
Brooklyn is basically Story Circle: The Movie. Eilis may not have the best life in Ireland, but she is comfortable there. But she hopes and wants for a better life than she can expect to have in the Emerald Isle. So she moves to Brooklyn, a situation whose unfamiliarity is hammered home from the first Irish immigrant she meets on the boat, to her fellow boarders who snip at her a bit, but also guide her through her new surroundings. She slowly but surely grows accustomed to her new home, with its different social mores and customs. She eventually has a good job, a future in accounting, a boyfriend, and the good life her sister wanted for her when she helped send Eilis to America. But just as she grows comfortable in that new life, she pays the price not being able to be home for her sister's funeral or to comfort her mother in person. Eventually, she's able to return home, but as the film makes clear in its third act, she is much different person now then when she left it.
That's not meant to be a criticism of the film. That type of adherence to story structure does lead to a film that feels conventional, and in truth Brooklyn is a feel-good story that is as interested in a film experience that feels like slipping into a warm bath as it is in proceeding through its simple-but-sweet coming of age tale. The notes are familiar, but the melody is beautiful, and the audience goes home happy.
At one point, Eilis offers her beau, Tony, an adjective to describe herself -- amenable. And it's the perfect way to describe Brooklyn It's a very amenable film, happy to lean into the soft hues of the past to tell a love story, and immigrant story, and a bildungsroman, in gentle tones that provoke smiles and sighs as Eilis finds happiness, love, and fulfillment despite her initial reservations and homesickness.
If I have a criticism, its that Eilis's journey is almost too successful. For all the accusations of unrealistic perfection leveled at Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Eilis is a paragon of good fortune throughout Brooklyn. Nearly everyone she meets in Ireland and in Brooklyn short of the prickly Miss Kelly likes her and helps her to feel more comfortable in whatever her current surroundings are. To boot, she becomes successful at nearly whatever she sets her mind to, from working at the department story, to courting, to her burgeoning skills as a bookkeeper.
But that's not to say Eilis does not face challenges in the film. Hers are challenges of conscience rather than the standard plot obstacles we expect our cinematic protagonists to leap over. The crux of the film is Eilis returning to the land that she thought had nothing there for her, and finding that she was wrong, that there is good work, and friendship, and family, and a nice boy with a good future. Suddenly, the life she forged across the pond, the one with her husband, and her studies, and seems distant, something that unexpectedly has to compete with the renewed comforts of home. The choice the film stakes out -- whether to take the stronger, more confident persona Eilis has built back to Ireland and start a life there better than any she hoped to be able to enjoy, or return to the place that made her into that stronger person with the man she pledged her love to.
The problem is that as well as the film sets up that choice, and lays out compelling elements on both sides of the equation, it glosses over the conclusion in a somewhat unsatisfying fashion. While the touch of Miss Kelly's would-be blackmail is nice, it seems abrupt that after all the time the film spends setting up Eilis's hometown as somewhere that Eilis has a place and could be happy, one harsh woman is enough to send her back to New York. There's subtext about an iron fist hiding beneath the velvet glove that's been offered to Eilis since she returned to Enniscorthy, but it's hard to see it anyone besides Miss Kelly, with everyone else in the town seeming a bit pushy and presumptive, but also genuinely enamored with the young Ms. Lacey. Her confession to her mother is a quietly powerful scene, and the breakup letter she gives to her Irish beau feels like too easy way to resolve that relationship, but more than anything, it just feels odd that one mean old crow is all it takes to convince Eilis that she could never have a life in a place that, despite the vows she's tried so hard to put out of her mind, seemed to welcome her with open arms.
Still, the scene where Tony finds Eilis waiting for him and the pair embrace is a sweet moment, even if it doesn't feel totally earned given what motivated Eilis to come to that point. But it's a lovely image in a film full of them. Brooklyn is awash in muted pastels and primary colors, that give the past a gauzy hue that catches the eye and conveys the sense of a sweeter, simpler time. It's also a supremely well-shot film, that shoots Eilis and Jim Farrell at the beach having a conversation with their romantic companions framed in between them in the distance, conveying the subtext of the exchange. It's also a film keen to use subtle touches to show changes in Eilis's mood or perspective, from the simple act of wearing her bathing suit under her clothes that impresses her friends back home, to the letters she shoves in a drawer to signify the way in which she's putting Brooklyn out of her mind. None of these techniques is so subtle that the viewer will miss them, but the film takes the old admonition "show don't tell" to heart, and succeeds well with that principle in mind.
In the end, Brooklyn is a fairly simple story. Girl leaves home. Girl makes a new life with success and romance. Girl returns home, seeing the beauty of what she left behind and has to choose her new life or her old one. But the film's pleasures come from the sweet stillness of the moments in between, of the temping worlds the film creates on either side of Eilis, in the recognizable steps of maturation, of change, that Eilis goes through as she moves past her homesickness, past her reticence, and eventually, past the girl she used to be. Brooklyn is an aggressively amiable film, that breaks little new ground, but covers the familiar territory with such a pleasant, charming air, that it can be forgiven for making few new steps.
One of the best romantic movies of 2015, very engaging and highly underrated.
É um filme muito sutil, e ao mesmo tempo muito bonito, a atuação da Ronan é o ponto alto do longa, ela mostra várias características de sua personagem de forma simples e nada exagerado, o diretor desliza em algumas realizações mas consegue entregar um bom trabalho, vale a pena conferir
This is a film headlining Saoirse Ronan so no matter the story, direction or script it will not be bad, she is incapable of putting in a bad performance.
Right from the start it is clear the film is love letter to all those Irish citizens who took the big step of leaving their home country, family and loved ones to start a new life in the USA knowing that they would probably never see them or their home country ever again. Bearing that in mind it is no surprise that the story and action make a significant and hard attempt and plucking your heart strings. Depending on your tolerance to this type of manipulation will depend how you view the film.
For me, particularly after Eilis returns to Ireland, this was maybe a tad too heavy handed but at no point did it spoil my enjoyment of the story. In particular Saoirse Ronan performance papers over and cracks with an easy skill. She portrays the yearning for something new, the utter heart-breaking loneliness, utter love and then desperate confusion with the nuances of an actor many times her senior. In particular I have never seen anyone display with just their face the complete desolation of really feeling homesick in the shop scene, absolutely brilliant and overwhelmingly sad. Although it already seems the small, amateur review is the work of the full-time Saorise Ronan Fan Club it has to be said. Never has it been proved how important a great actor is to a story.
Luckily for us all the rest of the cast are not outshone by Saorise. Emory Cohen as Tony portrays against stereo-type be being a young, charming, nice, Italian-America boy with a nice friendly Italian-American family, not a white vest and swearing and arm-waving in sight eh Don Juan? Domhnall Gleeson in a smaller but pivotal role is also at the top of his game, particularly as it asks him to show an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and love while being restrained by the macho world of the Irish male – not an easy task but completed very well.
The on top of this we get Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent, we are really spoiled. Both experienced actors are given roles that play against Hollywood stereo-type and the film is so much better for it. It was unbelievable joy to see an Irish priest actually just being a nice Irish priest, after all it’s not like there’s a shortage of horrible ones on the silver screen recently.
Brooklyn was adapted to script form by Nick Hornby and although I have not always been onside with some of this writing but for a man he seems to know how to right from a woman’s point of view, although obviously being a man I’m eminently unqualified to judge this.
Certainly this film is great testament to the many people who poured across the ocean to start a new life in the United States and it can be forgiven the treacle, selling Ireland a bit short and being unable to resist the romanticised downtrodden homeless Irishman singing a beautiful song to a silent room of down and outs but it you manipulating emotions is what entertainment is all about. Brooklyn is designed to make you feel sad but a little happy and it works.
Brooklyn is a good film. Everyone involved in it are at the top of their game and this whitewashes any flaws you feel it might have. It’s not perfect and is definitely a manipulation on your emotions but so what?
Deeply moving, the film has themes that may resonate with anybody who has left home to new surroundings. Its hard to let go of both places, for a while. The lead character in the film made the right choice at the end, much to my relief. Not everybody will agree, it may depend on your own life experience and the choices, for good or bad, that you made.
I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I found this movie mind-bogglingly boring. My wife and I turned it off after 40 minutes because nothing had happened, and we decided we'd rather not waste our lives being bored. We could waste our lives in much more entertaining ways.