Brooklyn (2016) Review

Keeva Stratton

Film Expert

In this romantic tale of self-discovery, we follow the at times heart-wrenching journey of a young woman torn between her old home and her new.


Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is a young woman with little prospects in her beloved Irish hometown. She takes the daring leap to move across the sea to America (specifically Brooklyn), where more opportunities await.

At first she struggles. Her homesickness is consuming, and is made worse with every letter she receives from the mother and sister she left behind. But, through a blossoming romance with a young American of Italian heritage (an unconventional relationship for the early 1950s, in which the film is set), she begins to love her new home.

Just as she finds herself enjoying her studies, her work and her new man, tragedy strikes back in Ireland. When she returns things quickly become complicated by new offers for work and a new romantic interest. Suddenly, Eilis is painfully torn between the Ireland she had always wanted but which seemed out of reach, and her new home and love in faraway Brooklyn.

It’s hard to imagine today how distant these two places would have been for a young woman in the 1950s, but through a well-composed Nick Hornby screenplay (adapted from the novel by Colm Tóibín), Brooklyn brings these emotions beautifully to life.

Brooklyn is as rich as it is romantic, while frankly a little cruel to its central character. Spliced with Hornby’s sharp wit and carried by Ronan’s seemingly effortless, yet jaw dropping beauty, it’s a simple story, lovingly told.

Plaudits must be given to the exceptional work of Julie Walters, whose Mrs Keogh, the matronly boarding house owner, delights with her wicked and well placed humour.

Brooklyn is one is for the romantics, and those who appreciate finding beauty in the simpler things.

Director: John Crowley

Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen

Runtime: 112 mins

Release Date: 11 Feb

Rating: M

Reviewer Rating: 3.5/5

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