Saoirse Ronan is no stranger to recognition. She has been in projects of note, starting with her acclaimed performance in Atonement. Her name is now in award season talks for her role in Brooklyn, a story of love between an Irish immigrant and two suitable men, an Italian residing in America and a fellow Irish back home. She is getting quite the praise for the role, and the film was garnering positive reviews, which prompted me to seek this out.
This is also based on a book by the same title (lots of books being turned to award-garnering films this year), and while I have yet to read it, the film was not something I expected. I was expecting a sweeping story with Ronan to be impressive. I didn’t expect it to be lukewarm, and had me wondering how this was garnering so much praise. Neither immigrant life nor the love story were thoroughly fleshed out.
I feel indecisive about Ellis. Ronan’s portrayal had made her likable, showing off much of her strengths. I don’t know however if she is subtly formed to a well-rounded character, or that her redeeming qualities are thrown out the window once men were in question. She shouldn’t be caged into one category – her choices are defined with what she wants, but somehow the flow of the film makes it look like she is just agreeing to everything thrown her way. It makes it hard to understand the way her character thinks and responds because mixed messages are provided.
Ronan was good, as well as her co-stars Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson. There isn’t a dull part in the film, as its narrative moves smoothly to cover all the factors that need to be present. However, the film falls flat. The emotions that I expected to reach out beyond the screen didn’t even skim the surface. Despite the smooth narrative, the story wasn’t fleshed out that it didn’t feel like a dramatic tale. It really was lukewarm and I expected a lot better.
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson
Director: John Crowley