Brooklyn is the tale of an Irish girl, Ellis (Saorise Ronan), who immigrates to the United States at the instance of her sister so she can have a better life outside of their little town in Ireland. When Ellis first arrives, she can’t seem find a place like home for herself in this foreign country she’s found herself in, until she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), and falls in love. Soon after, a tragedy befalls someone close to Ellis in Ireland and she must go back, leaving Tony behind.
I want to say that I wanted to like Brooklyn, it seemed like it would be, at the very least, a decent film, and on top of that, well made. Yet, the whole thing just left me cold and wondering why it has received such buzz and critical adulation for something so insignificant. At first, it seemed to be laying the groundwork for later, bigger, plot developments. Yet, as the movie chugged along, and it continued to move at its languid pace, nothing at all seeming to take place except a growing dislike for the main character.
The film presents a choice that Ellis must make. Yet, that she even let the choice enter her mind, turned me off to her plight completely. Not that I’ve been perfect in every respect, but this plot development was just unnecessarily cruel to a particular character, and it felt more like a plot contrivance that serves to keep the story going, but at the cost of Ellis’s character.
The film itself isn’t that well made. It seems more like a television film than it does a theatrical one. The direction is passable, the costumes decent but nothing outstanding. I thank my lucky stars that John Crowley didn’t end up directing Carol like originally planned.
Saorise Ronan has received a lot of praise for her work here, and I like her as an actress, but she did next to nothing. People talk about the subtle, internal work that she has done here, but I just have to roll my eyes. If someone needs to see a masterful, subtle performance, check out Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years. It’s not even in the same ballpark folks, sorry.
It’s not all Saorise’s fault though. The material she has to work with, I suspect, was better presented in a novel rather than a film, because none of it works here. I wish I could say that I saw what other people saw in this film, but I didn’t. It was a bland, nothing film that I’m sure within a week I’ll have forgotten I watched it at all.