Review: There’s been an awakening. Having paved her own shadowy way to stardom, young Irish-American Saoirse Ronan finally gets a shot to her own spotlight. After her international breakthrough in Atonement – which granted her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, she keeps making bold picks with different taste – The Lovely Bones, Hannah, and a small role in The Grand Budapest Hotel; it all makes sense when her recent tenure with director John Crowley in a period drama, Brooklyn, possibly led her to more prestigious nominations.
Ronan is Eilis Lacey, a young woman living under her mother’s comfort in a small town in Ireland. Young and aspiring she is, caught up in dreams of American shores as she steps across the universe to Brooklyn, New York, where a story has awaited.
Her opal blue eyes dominate every scene she’s in. The blush on her cheek adds more details to the colorful depiction of the 50s Brooklyn. Ronan’s Eilies doesn’t even have any chance to escape from Yves Bélanger’s fluorescence-laden cinematography. Not even once she can hide her desperate eyes from the screen, especially when series of homesickness struck her during her initial days in America; nor her infatuated eyes when she’s falling in love to an Italian guy, Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen).
Brooklyn – an adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel of the same title – is a petite period drama which works. This romance is as warm and uplifting as it might look generic, but that doesn’t matter. It takes some time to finally get to the main conflict; while on the run, Brooklyn builds simple conflicts in revealing Eilis’ true colors. While most of the earlier conflicts are prone to clichés, the main conflict is unpredictable and depressingly staggering.
Brooklyn is a quintessence of ordinary sweet romance with ordinary characters living an ordinary narrative – in a positive way. Plainly watching this is like watching The Notebook with a much simpler but unpredictable story minus any twist. Yet, it gets more than just romantic moments; it really gets ‘heart.’ It’s well-written, well-directed and well-acted, but most importantly, it has Saoirse Ronan as the heart.
With astonishing performance from its stable of casts led by heart-melting award-worthy show-off by Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn is surprisingly easy to follow. Everything just gets better towards the end as it finally concludes itself in a sentimental way.