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TIFF 2015 Review: Brooklyn

Ever since its premiere at the Sundance film festival in January, audiences have been fawning over John Crowley’s Brooklyn. After waiting months to see it, this reviewer is proud to confirm that it was worth the wait. With an expectedly brilliant performance from Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn is surely among the year’s best.

The film opens in 1952, Eilis Lacey is soft-spoken young woman working at a general store in Ireland. Since the end of the war, America has been on the maps of all European citizens as the land of hope and opportunity. When this opportunity presents itself to Eilis, she immediately jumps at the chance to start a new life in the United States. Leaving her mother and sister behind, Eilis travels to New York where she will work as a cashier at a posh Brooklyn department store. To the shock of her roommates, Eilis soon meets Tony (Emory Cohen), a young Italian with a thing for Irish girls. They quickly fall in love, but a tragedy calls Eilis back to Ireland. Their love is put to the test of distance, and Eilis is eventually forced to choose between her home and her heart.

Crowley’s film is absolutely stunning. He paints Brooklyn with a beautiful palate, making it look like a place out of Douglas Sirk’s most friendly of dreams. Audiences will be quick to understand why it is this place that begins Eilis transformation from a quiet young girl into a commanding and mature woman.

Ronan has been giving great performances for the past eight years, but since her breakout in Atonement, she has not been given the vehicle to ultimately show off her talent. Atonement showed us Ronan as one of the most talented child actors, but Brooklyn reintroduces her as one of the most talented actresses in the business.

The only fault that can be attributed to Brooklyn is that it seems to end too soon. After spending nearly two hours watching this beautiful film, audiences will be devastated to see the credits roll.

[star v=5]

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.