Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Review: Brooklyn (2015)
'Brooklyn' Is A Delightful Period Drama
In multiplication, when you multiply two negatives, you create a positive. That kind of applies here because while I have never got into romances or period pieces, having now seen a romantic period piece, I found one that is not only a positive one, but one I myself am in absolute love with!
Brooklyn follows the story of an Irish immigrant named Ellis (Saoirse Ronan) who moves to New York City away from her family to build a better life for herself. At first, she deals with homesickness, only for it to vanish when she meets an Italian plumber named Tony (Emory Cohen). However, when something tragic happens and Ellis must return home, she must then decide where she feels her true home is.
I'll start right off with the film's main anchor that drives it and that is Saoirse Ronan's performance. She carries the film in a very natural and unaffected manner even as the camera never moves away from her expressive face. She captures such delight, confliction, loneliness, ferocity, and romance all through her glowing eyes. While the film may be Ronan's show, she also has a great cast supporting her with a few standouts. One is Emory Cohen as Eilis' love interest Tony who may lack in smarts and riches yet makes up for that with his humongous heart of gold. He and Ronan have such rich chemistry and Cohen possesses such charm, that even the audience will fall in love with him. I also loved Julie Walters as Eilis' landlady Mrs. Kehoe. Almost everything that she says is a riot and even though she has only a handful of scenes, Walters really makes the most of it.
While the film packs a lot of heart thanks to the performances from the cast, the film is also a technical master class. The cinematography om this film by Yves Balenger is absolutely beautiful and very luminous. I also loved the costume design by Odile Dicks-Mereaux and how she gives Eilis specifically colored clothes at certain points in the film. For example, when Eilis is heading to New York, she is wearing green as a way to take a piece of her home country with her when she heads to a new one.
Next, I'll get into the terrific screenplay by Nick Hornby. One thing that I loved was how Hornby doesn't resort to exposition to present the internal conflict or arc of the main character. For example, when he demonstrates Eilis' homesickness, he uses details like the scenes of her crying as she reads her letters from her sister and a scene where she and her fellow ladies from her boarding house are serving food to Irish men around Christmas time and one of them breaks out into an Irish song and Eilis bursts into tears. Also, the film gives off the message that home is where the heart is and even though that message is said by one of the characters, it isn't constantly fed to the audience. Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to both the director, John Crowley, who directed all these crafts with precision.
Overall, Brooklyn is an absolute delight of a picture that is packed with heart and is a masterful demonstration of precision filmmaking. It has got a little something for everyone: laughs, tears, romance, craftsmanship, and even nostalgia thanks to its classic 1950's setting.