The Oscar-nominated Brooklyn (2015) is filled with emotional highs and narrative lows. Still, it manages to come across as a paramount entry in the romantic genre.
The Plot: Based on Colm Toblin's 2009 novel of the same name, it tells the story of a young Irish immigrant who finds love, when she travels to Brooklyn in the 1950s. However, things take a drastic course when her past catches up with her.
The Good: The cinematography is sublime and nothing looks out of place whether it be the scenery of Ireland, or the developed America. Director John Crowley really knew when to use the shots, specifically close-ups of the main character Eilis. His talent is also showcased when he directs the intimate scenes between the primary couple.
The score is also pitch perfect. I thought the music really came in handy when there were no dialogues on the screen. Brooklyn is one of those rare romantic-dramas which has both picturesque mise-en-scene, and attractive thespians playing lovebirds.
The highlight of this flick is no doubt the acting. Saoirse Ronan leads the charge with her spectacular enactment of Eilis. So, it came as no surprise that she got nominated for Best Actress at the 88th Academy Awards. And she might've won if it hadn't been for Brie Larson with her incomparable performance in Room (2015). Ronan was undoubtedly the runner-up.
The supporting cast is also notable. Emory Cohen is lovable as the main male figure. Domnhall Gleeson and Julie Walters also provided memorable support. Emily Bett Rickards who plays Felicity on the TV series Arrow also had a secondary role which ironically suited her as she depicted an annoying gossip girl.
The second-best aspect of Brooklyn is the discourses between characters. I thought the humorous conversations going on where Eilis lived in Brooklyn were quite laughable. Also, the letter narration between Eilis and her sister was done extremely well in a literary sense. Not to mention the charming exchanges between the two leads where Cohen earned his chance in the spotlight with the portrayal of Eilis' love interest Tony Fiorello.
Furthermore, Brooklyn is not just some fancy tearjerker. It has a heart of its own and it lies within Eilis. She is the major focus throughout this spectacle. And I thought this was a needle in a cinematic haystack which showcased a woman so brave. It's all about the female individual's choices and this movie was more character-orientated than event-driven which also allowed to be a bit different from others in its category.
It all comes down to this question for Eilis: Should I return to Ireland or live my life here in the US? And not only is she asking herself this but the audience is equally indulged in her thoughts. And that is why screenwriter Nick Hornby earned the nod for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Bad: Firstly, the picture was very predictable, even though most of its type are I just thought even the most tragic of incidents were forthcoming. In addition, the first hour was slow and uneventful yet the last 45-50 minutes were brilliantly filmed and written thus moving along at a swifter pace.
Thirdly, despite the venture being unique for representing a strong lady, there are similar films with this message. Therefore, the feature is not entirely original as in being one of a kind.
The Verdict: Brooklyn was the least-best contender for the 88th Best Picture. But after completing it, I reckon that it deserved to be selected, hands-down, for all three Awards. It might be foreseeable but the unparalleled acting by Ronan and Cohen, and the superbly-penned closure, make it a must-watch for dramatic enthusiasts.
The Rating: 3 out of 4.
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