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Movie Review

Brooklyn

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for a scene of sexuality and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Nicole Granath
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Romance Drama Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 51 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
January 26, 2015 (festival)
November 4, 2015 (select—5 theaters)
November 20, 2015 (wider—113 theaters)
November 25, 2015 (wide—824 theaters)
December 11, 2015 (wide—947 theaters)
DVD: March 15, 2016
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

love triangle

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

immigrants / immigration

homesickness

dealing with family tragedy

lies and deception

heartbreak, sadness

sister sister relationship

mother daughter relationship

filial duty

fornication in the Bible

LUST—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

sin

marriage in the Bible

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

secret marriage

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Saoirse RonanEilis
Domhnall Gleeson … Jim Farrell
Emory Cohen … Tony
Jim BroadbentFather Flood
Julie Walters … Mrs. Kehoe
Emily Bett Rickards … Patty
Fiona Glascott … Rose
Hugh Gormley … Priest
Brid Brennan … Miss Kelly
Maeve McGrath … Mary
Emma Lowe … Mrs. Brady
more »
Director: John Crowley
Producer: Wildgaze Films
Parallel Film Productions
more »
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

“Brooklyn” is an intriguing coming-of-age story based on the novel of the same name by author Colm Tóibín. The film features a young woman named Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), who was born and raised in Ireland. She lives with her older sister and their aging mother, and works at a shop with a cantankerous, mean gossip for a boss. Her father has previously passed away, and there are not many eligible men in town looking her way.

While her best friend gets noticed and appears to be able to find love and security, Eilis is unsure of finding either one in her small town. Not only that, but there appear to be very few opportunities for good jobs with advancement in order for her to survive on her own. At the prompting of her older sister Rose, Eilis embarks on a journey by ship to America, to live in a boarding house in Brooklyn, New York, along with other Irish girls her age. Here she will go through all the emotions of homesickness, assimilating into a new country, meeting new people, and navigating the dating world.

But just as she is adjusting to her new life in Brooklyn and is even beginning to thrive in her studies and personal life, unfortunate circumstances beckon her back to her home country. When things are not as dire or dreary in Ireland as before, and opportunities appear to be presenting themselves back home, Eilis must choose between the promise of love and security close to home, or keeping the commitments and promises she made in a faraway land.

This film is very enjoyable and definitely keeps the viewer interested. Eilis is smart, pretty and likable, and it’s easy to root for her to find happiness and success in America. When she becomes torn between her two opposite worlds, the viewer will find themselves feeling torn apart, as well.

There are several positive elements within the film, including her love for her sister and mother, and her desire to remain close to them through writing letters frequently while she is away. There are a few references to God, when all the girls are gathered at the dinner table of the boarding house. The housemother advises the girls to leave God out of certain conversations, to not make reference to Him in a wrong manner, and so on.

The character of Rose appears to want to do the right thing by taking good care of her aging mother, while also setting up a better opportunity for her sister Eilis in America. A priest in America encourages Eilis when she is homesick and helps to further her studies in school, in order to have a brighter future.

Themes such as premarital sex, keeping secrets from family and friends, and gossip are explored in this film. The idea that our lives and decisions are not always black and white is examined. It is important to keep in mind the biblical precepts about these topics while viewing this film.

On premarital sex, the Bible says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

As for keeping secrets from others, we know that the 9th of the 10 Commandments says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Additionally, God says in Psalm 119:163: “I hate and abhor lying: but your law do I love.”

When making decisions, God also promises that He will give us wisdom, if we ask Him. James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Our decisions should not be based only on what’s best for ourselves, personally, but also what God’s will is. We should be seeking Him in all things, including in the area of wisdom for our life’s path.

“Brooklyn” is an excellent film in many ways. The acting is good, the storyline is interesting, and the film is mostly above average in terms of content. There was one love scene that is on the more passionate side. This is a film that teenagers can see with a parent, and one that will bring up many important topics of discussion about family, love, sex, obligations and promises, and the importance of doing the right thing no matter what.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate to heavy—“Oh my G*d” (1), “Oh dear G*d” (2), “h*ll” (1), s-word (1), f-word (1) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy—sex in bed, kissing, bare-chested men, women in modest bathing suits

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Nice wholesome movie for a change, I thought; I thought of the people I would tell to come see this movie, my grand children, friends whose moms came from Ireland just the same way, than they threw in as always grunt and groan sex, the sex I didn’t mind, that I have to watch it I minded. Maybe our young people should know there was a time when lovers fell in love, got to know each other WELL, before they got into bed together. A girl coming from Ireland in the 50s would get married in the church, not a civil ceremony.

Tony reminded me of Marlon Brando; his little brother was great, stole the scenes. Loved this movie
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ellen, age 65 (USA)
Positive—I saw this film the day after Thanksgiving with an audience of mostly older women, and they were thoroughly engrossed. Their conversations continued as they left the theater and gathered at an adjacent ice cream shop. I would have to say that you would be hard pressed to find a more beautifully filmed character study in 2015. My favorite film of the year.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Morris, age 51 (USA)
Positive—This is a beautiful film. I saw it yesterday, and the beauty of the movie lingers. Yes, there is a sex scene, which is a bit unfortunate, but the rest of the content is full of nicely nuanced performances that tell the story of a young Irish girl’s maturation into an American woman and the decisions she has to make along the way. I was surprised by the amount of humor in this film, as the audience and I laughed quite a lot.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Halyna Barannik, age 69 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—This could have been a wonderful movie, but while producing some good acting and notable reactions from the audience, due to the witty humor and sudden disappointment, as a Christian I felt let down, overall. Interesting story of love, romance, loneliness and anticipation, but spoiled by a couple of serious acts.

***SPOILER*** The lovely, pure heroine suddenly decides to lose her virginity to her boyfriend the night before their wedding, in a scene that seemed sordid, out of place and inappropriate. Over a substantial period of time, the sweet, lovable heroine leads another young man on, until he is hopelessly in love, without telling him she is already married. ***END SPOILER***

The movie ended quickly, not neatly wrapping things up, but leaving me bewildered by what was left unsaid. A heroine shouldn’t enjoy a life of bliss while leaving behind a trail of damaged, broken hearts.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Christopher Marsden, age 60 (USA)
Neutral—this movie could have been really good, but they let Hollywood in. It doesn’t make sense that the heroine is so close to her church and priest and would not have been married in the church and would have sex the night before they got married.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Suzanne, age 42 (USA)
Neutral—The cinematography is beautiful, each scene filled with rich, warm tones. The dialogue is witty, and the acting is Oscar-worthy, but the music is disappointing, considering the classic tunes heard in the early fifties. Far more disappointing is the story line which belittles the sacrament of marriage.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Brian Schacht, age 69 (Canada)
Movie Critics

…What a moving, emotionally intelligent and refreshingly old-fashioned movie this is. …
—Mark Kermode, The Observer

…a well-crafted throwback to a different movie house age. …a young woman who’s shaped by the cause and effects of her own heartfelt struggles and choices. …
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In

…“Brooklyn” has the dreamy look of a hand-tinted postcard from another era… If you’re yearning to take a sentimental journey, ‘Brooklyn’ is the perfect destination. [4/5]
—Steve Davis, The Austin Chronicle

Saoirse Ronan shines, but relative newcomer Emory Cohen is the true breakout in this tale of a young woman torn between two men on opposite sides of the Atlantic. …
—Peter Debruge, Variety

…a lovely film based on the even lovelier novel by Colm Toibin… it is both sharply observed and gently nostalgic. …
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

…pulse-quickeningly good… [4/5]
—Tim Robey, The Telegraph [UK]

…A superb, emotionally turbulent account of a young Irishwoman’s attempt to become an American in the early 1950s. …
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

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