Plain, Simple Tom reviews . . . “Brooklyn” (2015)

A critically acclaimed film of 2015, Brooklyn is the story of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) who leaves her home in Ireland to go and live in America. Initially homesick and out of place, she soon meets and falls in love with Italian-American plumber Tony (Emory Cohen) and begins to enjoy her newfound life. Though after a certain tragic event compels her to briefly return home, she finds herself caught between two different worlds and must decide whether or not to return to America.


At the centre of this film is Saoirse Ronan and it is clear as to why she received so many award nominations for this film. She is a very charming lead and is perfect in the title role. She starts off noticeably quiet, shy and timid and in these opening scenes, she effectively conveys her unease and loneliness and we clearly see how much she misses her home. However as the film progresses and she starts to create a new life for herself, she clearly becomes more confident and Ronan makes this transition wonderfully, due in no small part to her lovely smile and sparkling eyes!

The supporting cast of Brooklyn is also great; Emory Cohen is a charismatic male lead, Eve Macklin and Emily Bett Rickards (I actually had no idea it was her until afterwards!) are charming as Diana and Patty, the “giddy girls” as Julie Walters’ character Mrs. Kehoe calls them, and . . . well, Julie Walters is also excellent, delivering a memorable, humorous supporting performance.

The music of Brooklyn is wonderful; composed by Michael Brook and primarily featuring strings, the score is constantly beautiful and is an ideal accompaniment to the on-screen images. It is successful in conveying a sense of melancholy but at the same time, it is never manipulative or over sentimental.

Nick Hornby’s script is very good; he manages to deliver a script that is moving and emotional but never crosses the line into mawkishness. It successfully explores the idea of being caught between two homes, two lives and the related homesickness is something to which most of us can relate. It also manages to be quite funny throughout; there is a good mix of drama and comedy.

This is also an exquisitely designed film and the use of colour is certainly laudable. Going from a rather drab, dim setting in post-war Ireland, the film gradually gets brighter (and so does Eilis’ clothing as she herself becomes more confident) and this all gives the film a certain warmth and charm.


A beautiful, charming, melancholic film with amazing music, lovely colours and genuine performances.

★ ★ ★ ★

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