I saw Brooklyn last night and loved it from beginning to end. The film tells the coming of age story of Ellis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), an Irish immigrant to the United States in the 1950s. Ellis leaves Ireland feeling that there is no future for her there, but in New York (despite being surrounded by other Irish Catholic immigrants) feels homesick and alone. That is, until she meets Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) an Italian guy at an Irish dance. Watching their courtship unfold in an age of Tinder and random hookups is a revelation. It’s a pleasure to watch two people have dinner, dance, flirt, and go to the beach. When Ellis’ family experiences tragedy in Ireland, she returns, and is once again torn between two worlds, two good, but very different possible lives.
In this time of hateful rhetoric about immigrants, the film is a love letter to the Catholic immigrants (Irish, German and Italian) who came to this country and built the tunnels and the roads. What’s more, Ellis is helped along in the States by a benevolent priest (Jim Broadbent), who will remind you of all the great priests you have ever known. Every Catholic in the United States needs to see this film, because it tells the story of our immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents, the ones who, despite Nativism and other obstacles, made this place their home.
The film is based on the novel by Colm Tobin. Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay. It is rated PG-13 for a moment of brief but intense sexuality. Watch the trailer here: