It’s Brooklyn, but not as we might know it. Dublin Buzz checks out the most-talked-about Irish film of the year.
You couldn’t have missed the hype; Jim Sheridan’s Brooklyn is easily one of heavy hitters at the box office this year – and not just in Ireland. The tale, adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín’s novel of the same name, is undeniably Irish but the story is resolutely universal.
Saoirse Ronan, of course, takes centre stage as Eilis and she is captivating. Critics are praising her, dubbing her a young Meryl Streep, and they’re justified. Ronan will probably need to prepare for a busy awards season and certainly a slew of job offers on the foot of this.
The rest of the cast is similarly stellar. Emory Cohen plays the adorable Brooklyn-born plumber and has us rooting for him from the outset. Domhnall Gleeson plays his oblivious competitor and manages to tug the other end of the enthralled audience’s heartstrings.
Yes, there’s a love story. It’s not a typical boy-meets-girl, nor is it remarkable. But Brooklyn isn’t just a love story; it’s a coming-of-age tale – the story, that rings so true, of an Irish immigrant in Brooklyn, struggling with homesickness, adapting, and almost thriving before home takes her back. There are moments of triumph and satisfaction but there are also moments of heartache and sorrow.
It’s nostalgic, portraying an Ireland you imagine, simple and lacking in opportunity, but thankfully don’t remember. There are sweeping images of the country’s scenery too, contrasted with the precocious, sophisticated scenes on the other side of the pond. And thankfully, it rarely borders on twee.
Homage must also be paid to the support characters, from Jane Brennan’s grieving mother, Fiona Glascott’s devoted sister and Jim Broadbent’s big-hearted priest. Julie Walters is a marvel too, her accent faultless as she admonishes the giddy Irish girls around her boarding house table.
Brooklyn is a relatively simple story – refreshingly so. But it’s not a fairytale or quite the American dream. It straddles that area between a happy ending and accepting the inevitable ending – much like life itself.
All photos by Kerry Brown – © 2015 – Fox Searchlight Pictures (via IMDb)