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BROOKLYN tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s (Jane Brennan) home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

 

 

 

Brooklyn

By Grace Collender

article-2602757-1CFC30F200000578-835_634x816A young Irish girl finds herself transplanted from quiet Enniscorthy to pulsating, fast-paced Brooklyn and must endeavour to carve out a new existence for herself far from everyone and everything she knows in the powerful and evocative Brooklyn, adapted for the big screen from Colm Toibin’s 2009 novel of the same title. Charting the emotional odyssey of Eilis Lacey, portrayed in a beautifully understated performance by Saoirse Ronan, as she’s “away to America”, John Crowley’s movie will captivate and move all. The experience of approximately 480,000 people, who were forced to leave an economically moribund and socially stifling Ireland in the 1950s in search of work and a fuller life across the Atlantic, is poignantly brought to life. Nick Hornby’s enthralling screenplay unites with beautiful set design and vintage costuming to bring a strong sense of verisimilitude to this touching coming-of-age tale.

download (1)Eilis is encouraged by her sister, Rose, to leave for America, as Rose knows Ireland cannot offer her young sister any hope of a fulfilling life. Therefore, with boarding and employment arranged for her by Father Flood (Jim Broadbent), Eilis takes the boat from Cobh to New York, undertaking an extremely distressing journey all alone. This oppressive atmosphere of isolation haunts Eilis’s first few months away from home. Battling against an all-consuming homesickness, it is not until she is swept away by the charming Tony (Emory Cohen), a young Italian-American, that our endearing protagonist begins to feel at home in Brooklyn. However, tragedy strikes, taking Eilis away from her beloved Tony, back to Enniscorthy. With a new love interest back home, the steady and reliable Jim (Domhnall Gleeson), and the offer of a permanent job, Eilis is torn. She must now choose not only between the two men in her life, but between a life in Ireland and a life in America. Two potential lives, worlds apart.

downloadAttesting to the life-altering journey courageously embarked on by thousands, Brooklyn paints a stirring picture of the turbulent wave of emotions Eilis must overcome if she is to build that bright future her sister longs for her to have. As she grows in confidence, she is transformed from a meek, unassuming young girl to a self-assured, strong woman. This transformation is depicted through a change in costume and lighting. Back in Ireland, life is cloaked by drab and dingy colours, with grey streets and dull and dowdy outfits symbolising the decaying, sluggish nature of life there.  In stark contrast, life in America is surrounded by a vivacious energy, revealed through the bright colours of Eilis’s new wardrobe. Donning rich and vibrant skirts and dresses, and even some daring red lipstick, Eilis achieves a state of self-assurance. When she must return to Ireland, her newfound confidence is made apparent by her sophisticated and colourful attire, a far cry from her former lacklustre appearance. Eilis’s emotional state is thus consistently conveyed through a beautiful combination of set and clothing design, providing a stunning visual feast.

A compelling human story about the power of endurance, determination and hope, Brooklyn is a must see. It is a work of historical importance, while also possessing contemporary resonance. Tipped by many, including acclaimed director Jim Sheridan, to win big at the Oscars, this rousing tale truly proves that home is where the heart is.

4/5

 

 

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