|'Director John Crowley assumes our emotional attachment as he tries to squeeze out a few tears from us because Eilis is packing, leaving and eventually being sad in the US.'|
Currently winning a plentiful number of awards during the march towards the serious end of Oscar season, Saoirse Ronan is luminous in Brooklyn and the major reason to see the film. The role of Eilis may not be the most demanding Ronan has attempted but her willingness to give this a go and turn it, if not into a full success, then at least into something worth watching makes for a rewarding couple of hours.
If only the same could be said for several other parts of John Crowley's Drama then Brooklyn might be worthy of more effusive praise, but everywhere you look parts of this are undercooked, or at least lacking in the vividness Ronan and her constant emerald outfits effuse.
Co-star Emory Cohen, for example, who plays love interest Tony, is awful, quickly carving out a niche for himself as someone who can only play characters as nasally and uncertain, as per his offering in The Place Beyond The Pines. Tony is neither of those things and quite why and how Cohen was cast therefore remains a mystery.
The film is strong whilst Ronan's characters falls from Ireland to New York and learns to live and love away from home with the help of kindly priest Father Flood (Jim Broadbent). The fact that this is a contemporary offering where the priest is a good guy shows the innocently erstwhile morals of the tale and its homely nature extends to attempting to get you to turn on the waterworks every five minutes. Before we know anything at all about any of the characters, Crowley assumes our emotional attachment as he tries to squeeze out a few drops from us because Eilis is packing, leaving and eventually being sad in the US. Sometimes it works but then, sometimes, when Andy Cole had had 100 shots in a game, he did finally get one on target.
The conflict of the film finally arrives when Eilis is recalled to Ireland (painted as disappointingly morose; the US, on the other hand, is practically beatified), where she considers a dalliance with local hunk Jim (Domhnall Gleeson). Beginning past the hour mark though, Crowley doesn't leave enough time to develop this further and the lack of Tony at all during this segment makes Brooklyn feel a little isolated.
Next Christmas when it inevitably arrives on Sky and similar, this may well be your replacement for Downton Abbey; something Gran and the whole family can watch and enjoy post-Turkey. It's pleasant enough, and will serve well for that purpose, but as Dramatic cinema goes it is a long way from the heights.