Mild spoiler alert. This review will not ruin the film for you but people are picky on the internet.
Eilis, a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan), moves to New York to start a new life after getting nowhere in her home town. She falls in love and starts to settle down but still has to contend with the pull of her homeland, especially when disaster strikes.
Ronan is the focal point of Brooklyn. Crowley trains his camera on her almost obsessively and he’s right to do so. She’s vulnerable but smart, and changes subtly over time; a stellar performance.
Otherwise, this is an oddly paced, rather aimless film. No one likes to use the phrase ‘nothing happens’ but there are many points where we are left wondering what Crowley is getting at.
Things do get interesting when Eilis briefly goes back to Ireland and meets another man. She is forced to choose between two lovers and two worlds. However the situation on the east side of the Atlantic is very dull and Dohmnall Gleeson just doesn’t seem that interesting. The ‘tough’ decision is an easy one, at least from this side of the screen.
In this day and age, most people have to up and leave their lives. People move away from what they know and love all the time, in order to find a better life. By that measure Brooklyn should really be hitting home, yet it feels disconnected from reality and overly idealistic.
I’m sure Ronan will be featuring in a few awards ceremonies, but her talent could really have been put to better use.