by | Nov 8, 2015 | 0 comments

A Colorful Film that Explores Immigration’s Heart

We haven’t really had a good immigration drama in, well years. The most memorable of all films is certainly The Godfather Part II (1974), but we also mustn’t forget how well Once Upon A Time in America (1984) portrayed the difficult life of minorities in New York. In Brooklyn (2015), based on the highly acclaimed novel of the same name, we see what might just be the new standard for all movies depicting the hardship of immigration in America.

Brooklyn is the story of Eilis (Saorise Ronan), a young Irish girl in the 50s who lives with her mother and sister in a small Irish village. However, Eilis’ sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) wants a better life for her younger sister and with the help of Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) in New York, Eilis is sent to the States. At first the transition is hard, despite a warm welcome from her hostess (a magnificent Julie Walters) and her fellow board members. After attending a dance, however, Eilis meets the charming and polite Tony (Emory Cohen), who soon sweeps Eilis off her feet. Eilis soon finds herself comfortable in America, but just as hers and Tony’s romance reaches its zenith, Eilis is called back to Ireland. Back in Ireland she clearly stands out different than the rest, she no fully belongs. In Ireland she is also courted by another suitor, in the form of the elegant and wealthy Jim Farrel (Domhnall Gleeson). Now Eilis must choose not only between two men, but between two countries as well.

The story is incredibly impactful and what most surprised me was that it was very natural in all its aspects. It wasn’t spontaneous or trying to surprise us, it kept it real and the audience appreciated this for a change. What benefitted most was the film’s humor. Brooklyn ends up being quite a funny film (though it does have its fair share of drama) because the jokes come out organically and thus are extremely refreshing. The story is also very philosophical by exploring not only the clash of two cultures, but also the journey to adulthood and the mysteries of the human heart.

Saorise Ronan gives one of her best performances yet as Eilis. She perfectly encapsulates the loneliness that she experiences in crowded New York, a feeling we’ve all experienced be it at our first summer camps, or in our first weeks at college (though these are certainly on a much smaller scale). Ronan really makes us connect and feel the ache in her heart for Ireland and her family. But she also shows us how she gradually grows fond of Brooklyn and especially of Tony. I was especially struck by the amazing chemistry between Ronan and Emory Cohen, like the script and pace of the film it seemed incredibly natural.

It certainly is a period film, and while the costumes and set are magnificent and accurate, they all seemed different this time. What I noticed was that the whole picture had so much more color, so that it was eye candy for the audience. But it also played with our minds, making something so warm and attractive seem so distant and lonely. It’s a beautiful irony hidden in the technical aspects of the film.

In the end the only drawback I might have had from the film was the length. But the fact is that this is a long story, and speeding it up would have ruined it completely. The film is filled with not only a great crew, but also with an amazing set of actors and a fabulous script and directing. Do you need anything else? 







Historical Accuracy

What is your favorite Immigration film? Let me know in the comments below

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