Reviewed by: Nicole Granath
immigrants / immigration
dealing with family tragedy
sister sister relationship
mother daughter relationship
marriage in the Bible
|Featuring:||Saoirse Ronan … Eilis
Domhnall Gleeson … Jim Farrell
Emory Cohen … Tony
Jim Broadbent … Father 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
Parallel Film Productions
|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.
…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