Brooklyn is a frustrating movie. It’s well made and acted but it lacks weight behind the narrative. Based on the novel by Colm Tóibín novel, John Crowley’s Bafta and Oscar nominated drama delivers a captivating story, without it ever really captivating its audience.
Set in 1952, Saoirse Ronan is Eilis, a young Irish girl given the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic to start a new life in America. She takes up residence in a Brooklyn boarding house and starts a job in a large department store. Eilis finds love with an Italian-American plumber played by Emory Cohen and they secretly marry. However, a tragedy occurs and she must return home, where she strikes-up a budding romance with Domhnall Gleeson’s young up-and-comer. Will she she return to America and run into the arms of her baseball loving husband or remain in rural Ireland with her new ginger-haired, sports-coat loving flame?
Brooklyn isn’t bad, but it’s not really great. The main problem is that no scene lasts longer than 2 minutes and it’s a choppy drama that covers too much story in it’s 100 minute running time. The film literally crosses the Atlantic twice and Eilis starts two relationships over the course of that brief running time. Titanic could only cover half of all that – and the James Cameron film had double the running time! You might call it great brevity in storytelling, but I call that underdeveloped. On the plus-side, Saoirse Ronan is very good and Emory Cohen makes for a charming love interest. Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent offer good support, though unfortunately Domhnall Gleeson is saddled with a limp character that fails to sell the will she/won’t she drama.
Brooklyn fails to get the blood flowing in a dramatic way, but it is enjoyable. It’s a throwaway movie that fails to meet it’s high aspirations and that’s a real shame because there is a good story at the centre of this tale.
You get deleted scenes, a featurette and interviews – a solid DVD package.