Immigration Book Turned Movie Leaves Viewers Wanting More
By Victoria Priola
“Brooklyn” is the type of film you need to watch in two sittings because the 111 minute run time of the film is enough to put viewers to sleep. Its 98% approval rate on Rotten Tomato’s proves that its worth seeing at least once. According to IMDB, the movie made a gross amount of $22,439,281 since its debut in theaters.
The tragic story of forbidden love we’ve grown fond of from film’s past shines bright in the latest film “Brooklyn.” The storyline and actors makes the 1950’s immigration movement feel like yesterday.
“Brooklyn” starts out in Ireland where Eilis, played by Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan, is sent away to America in the hopes of finding employment. She is assigned to live with four other women under the watch of Mrs. Keogh in, you guessed it, Brooklyn.
Eilis and her roommates attend weekly singles dances in the hopes of finding a boyfriend to hopefully turn into a husband. Luckily for Eilis, this is where her and Tony meet and hit it off.
Her roommates warned her about Italian men and their ways but, just like the typical teenage girl with raging hormones, she continued to see him.
Eilis passes the time by going to school for bookkeeping and working at a retail store. When she has a free minute, she exchanges letters from her sister Rosa in Ireland. After a family tragedy, Eilis goes back to her homeland, leaving Tony and her New York life behind.
Before she goes home, she and Tony do what any logical couple with no permanent place to live do; they got married at the courthouse and told nobody about it.
In her time home with her grieving mother, she habitually goes out with her newly engaged childhood friend, Nancy.
Nancy has no knowledge of Eilis’ Italian husband in America and tries to set her up with Jim Farrell, played by Domhnall Gleeson. Eilis makes it a point to show how uninterested she is at first, but as days go by she catches herself falling for Jim, while still married to Tony.
Eilis is forced to choose between the life that has been constructed for her and the life she’s made for herself.
The overall message that can be taken from “Brooklyn” is that choosing the direction of your life is the scariest, most liberating thing you can do for yourself.
It’s ironic that the movie is so long because some viewers complained the plot was rushed.
Although the film was visually beautiful, there seemed to be some holes in the story. “Brooklyn” made Eilis’ experience with immigration look like a glamourous one, which doesn’t seem historically accurate.
During her travel to the country, she is taught to “think like an American” by her cabin mate. She can’t be too nervous or too innocent. Her cabin mate tells her to doll herself up and act like she knows where she’s going.
They rarely touch upon the paperwork and medical tests immigrants need to complete before entering the country. The only hardship she endured through the film was being homesick when she got to Brooklyn and being physically sick on the boat to Ellis Island due to rough waters.
There was nothing all that groundbreaking about this movie other than being one of the most “feel good” films I’ve seen in a long time.
Tony’s character defied the stereotype of Italian men being nothing but slime balls who are only after promiscuous women. He was a baseball loving momma’s boy who treated Eilis with nothing but respect throughout the entire film.
According to IMDB, “Brooklyn” will have it’s time to shine at the Oscars and Golden Globes this year. Ronan is one of the youngest actors to receive an Oscar nomination, as well as being nominated for a Golden Globe, for best performance by an actress in a leading role.
Nick Hornby is up for an Oscar nomination for best writing, screenplay based on material previously produced or published. Amanda Posey and Finola Dwyer are up for the Oscar’s best motion picture of the year.
It’s particularly shocking that the actor who played Tony, Emory Cohen, has not been nominated for any major awards. The movie plot was visibly rushed through on camera but with every scene Cohen’s character became more vulnerable.
Ronan kept the same facial expression throughout the entire film and was dense and boring up until the end of the film.
Reading the book the film was based on, “Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibíns, is suggested before seeing the movie. The bibliography alone explains what the movie didn’t cover.
Looking passed the plot confusion, the film was enjoyable. Eilis venture through her homesickness tugs at the heart strings and the underlying love story is sweet.
It might not be up to Nicholas Sparks standards but it’s still an enjoyable date night movie. One that you will watch once and forget about.