Brooklyn. It seemed rather simplistic. An Irish girl leaves her homeland to make a life in America. There is romance. When I sat down to watch it, I thought, There is a very good chance I will not like this movie. I can count the romance movies I like on two hands and then I doubt (with the exception of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Pride and Prejudice) if their really romance. Does Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Just Dance, and Mulan count? In the spirit of the Oscars and the fact it has one of my favorite actresses Saoirse Ronan, I decided to give Brooklyn ten minutes.
Ten minutes in and I am drawn into the story about a girl who leaves everything to live in New York where she knows nobody. She doesn’t even have the luxury of an international phone plan or Internet to send emails or FaceTime. Her only saving grace is snail mail and a rare phone call that is typically reserved for emergencies. She arrives in Brooklyn, New York and immediately starts working as a clerk at a department store. Forget newcomer classes or books about American customs or Google searches for the best places to meet new people. At least she has job security, but Eilis is dealing with homesickness.
Saoirse Ronan kills it acting out the face of loneliness and homesickness. She never actually comes out and says “I’m homesick.” Her face. Her actions speak her story. We can tell she struggles when she nervously bumbles through a conversation with a customer. The confused wide eyed looks she gives people when they attempt conversation with her. She is quiet and withdrawn, even at the dinner table with her board mates.
I get this girl. I have never moved thousand of miles from my family, but I do know what it feels like to arrive in a new place where you truly believe the only thing you have in common is the language you speak.
But then. . . Girl meets boy. I will not give away much, except he is an Italian plumber who likes Irish girls. Their relationship is refreshingly sweet. She is a sensible girl that longs for friendship and he is an earnest likeable guy looking for love. (Maybe this is cliché.)Other events occur. There is a triangle of love, but thankfully it is not the typical angsty driven triangle. No boy saves the day.
Ultimately, Eilis has to make some grown up decisions. I finished the movie with a satisfied sigh. It is not a true happily ever after. But close.
I am still pondering the decision of purchasing this flick. Sure, there is no death defying action scenes, epic monologues of love (almost) or jaw dropping drama, but it is a beautifully told story with relatable characters experiencing the highs and lows of being a human. Of all the Oscar nominated movies, this is a must see. Or if you are just looking for a romance, well I personally vouch this one.