With the BAFTAs recently passed and the Academy Awards fast approaching, Brooklyn is set to be a firm favourite with the judging panel and audiences alike this year. Up for three Academy Awards – Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay – Brooklyn recently won it’s only BAFTA of six nominations; Best British Film.
Saoirse Ronan leads the film as Eilis Lacey, who leaves behind 1950s Ireland for Brooklyn, and the hope of a better future for herself. Mostly set in America, with the occasional jump back to Ireland, we see Eilis faced with choosing between her new, independent life in America, and the people she left behind in Ireland. This decision is made increasingly difficult when she becomes torn between two men; Anthony (Emory Cohen) and Jim (Domhnall Gleeson).
Saoirse Ronan is the prefect lead for this film, as she moves at ease between the nervous girl arriving in the big city, to the confident and passionate resident she becomes. On the surface, Brooklyn could appear to be a film with very little plot, and so could be deemed as boring. However, this is not the case, as Ronan takes us on the emotional journey of this character and the choices she has to make. The film is more about the character of Eilis, and less so about either country.
Ronan is clearly a remarkable actress for her youthful age, and has stood out on screen since winning the role of Briony Tallis in Atonement, aged just twelve. Although unlikely to win, she richly deserves her nomination for Best Actress this year.
Praise must also be given to Julie Walters as Madge Kehoe, the strict landlady who runs the boarding house in which Eilis resides. In a film filed with emotion, Walters is perfect at providing comic relief, to an otherwise dramatic film. Jim Broadbent also appears in a small role as Father Flood, an Irish priest living in New York.
Better known for his novels, including High Fidelity and About A Boy, both of which became acclaimed films, the screenplay comes from Nick Hornby. This is the fourth screenplay from Hornby, who also penned the excellent films An Education and Wild. It seems that anything Hornby has a part in is deemed for success, due to his enormous talent as a writer.
The 1950s settings and costumes are visually beautiful on screen, and it seems that the novel by Colm Tóibín, on which the film is based, will be selling in greater numbers due to the film’s success. I highly recommend Brooklyn for viewing delight this awards season.
Brooklyn will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 29th February 2016.