The Harbinger Online

Movie review: Brooklyn


It was one of those nights where all I wanted to do was lie in bed and watch Netflix, so when my mom called me downstairs for a family meeting, I groaned reluctantly. My mom told us how badly she wanted to see this new movie, Brooklyn. She had heard about how good it was from a friend and suggested we go out as a family to see it.

“I’m seeing it no matter what,” she said. “Even if you guys don’t want to go, I’ll go alone.”

Maybe I was too tired, or maybe I just didn’t want to put some pants on, but I stayed home that night while my parents and sister went to see it. I don’t care for romance movies anyway, so it didn’t seem worth the trouble of going out. I thought I was just missing another love story.

Here’s what I expected. A small-town Irish girl moves to New York and finds love. Not a whole lot to it, right?

I didn’t realize how much I’d missed out on until they got home.

With my family’s raving reviews and assurance that it would win lots of awards, I knew I would have to see it at some point.

Here’s what I got: Eilis Lacey, played by Saoirse Ronan, doesn’t have a lot going for her as a young woman in Ireland in the 1950’s. She works a cashier job at a local shop run by a sour old woman. The only things keeping her there are her delicate mother and sister who want to give her the world. When her sister finds Eilis a job in Brooklyn, she doesn’t have much trouble saying goodbye to her life in Ireland.

She moves to Brooklyn to work in a department store, living in a girls’ boarding house and taking night classes on bookkeeping. Facing what she thinks is endless homesickness, Eilis’ new life is torture to her. The only thing that could cure her desire to be home is love. Just when Eilis wants to give up, she meets Tony, played by Emory Cohen, an Italian plumber and falls in love.

When faced with a tragic, life-changing loss, Eilis drops everything and goes back to Ireland for what she thinks will only be a few weeks. There she realizes that she could have the life she always wanted in Ireland with new opportunities that weren’t there before, leaving Eilis with the decision of her life: Brooklyn or Ireland?

I was struck by Ireland’s beauty in the quiet beaches and familiar town setting. The contrast itself between the busy city life in Brooklyn and the quiet town in Ireland are two different ideal lifestyles I enjoyed watching. But in this situation, it only seems right for Eilis to make her own decision that will best help her find herself.  

Let me tell you, my family was right. Brooklyn is already up for three Oscars: Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Best Picture and Best Actress in a Leading Role. It also won The British Independent Film Award for Best Actress in a British Independent Film and New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress.

Overall, the movie was worth putting pants on for. It isn’t just another rom com like I had expected. It told the journey Eilis pursued, and I don’t think there could’ve been a better ending to the movie.

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