Monday, November 23, 2015

Brooklyn (HIFF 2015) - Movie Review

Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, is an official selection of the 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival. The movie features a cast that includes Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Emily Bett Rickards, Eve Macklin, Fiona Glascott, Jessica Paré, and Jenn Murray.

The Story:
Having hit a bit of a rut in her young life, Eilis (Ronan) is sent from her home in Ireland to America where she will live in a boarding house in Brooklyn to seek new opportunities in the new world. Even after finding a job and attending accounting classes, she doesn't seem to fit in and longs for her life back home, at least not until she meets and falls in love with an Italian boy named Tony (Cohen). The pair become inseparable and they begin planning their lives together although a family tragedy sends Eilis back home and she must ultimately decide which life she wants to live.

The Review:
This movie is an absolute gem and a thoroughly entertaining surprise that should carry it well into awards season. Saoirse Ronan completely owns every scene she is in and gives such a commanding performance that you can't help but think that this is her announcement to the world that she has officially arrived as one of the premier young actresses working today. The most surprising thing about this film is how brilliantly funny it is with some of the highlights coming from dinner table conversation between the ladies of the boarding house that Eilis lives in. I would have loved to have been on set during these scenes as I imagine they were even more fun to film than what we get to see on screen.

Aside from the lighter, comedic side of the film ,it is also a very well thought out historical drama and also has elements of romance and tragedy embedded into it's core. There is so much story to tell between two countries and over several years yet director John Crowley handles it all with the artistic strokes of a master painter. Visually, the film is stunning with bold colors and striking imagery all framed beautifully by cinematographer Yves Bélanger who's previous work includes Dallas Buyers Club and Wild.

The Verdict:
Brooklyn is a beautiful film, a stunning period piece, and a very well thought out drama filled with brilliant acting highlighted by Saoirse Ronan's Oscar worthy performance. Go see this movie as soon as you can.


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