Based on the 2009 award winning novel of the same name, Brooklyn is the kind of movie that doesn’t get made very much anymore. Character driven, and filled with heart, Brooklyn is a brilliant coming of age story of an Irish immigrant girl in the 1950s. It’s an old fashioned love story that fits any time period. There are moments of joy, and moments of sadness that might have you reaching for the tissues.
Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), is the youngest of two daughters living in a small town in Ireland with her widowed mother. With few prospects for a job, Eilis’ older sister arranges, with the help of the Church, for Eilis to move to America where a job in a department store and a home in a women’s only boarding house has been arranged. Despite obvious sadness over leaving her mother and sister, Eilis boards a large passenger ship and sets sail to America. It’s obvious from the start that her heart is still in Ireland. After a difficult voyage, Eilis arrives in America, and heads to her new home in Brooklyn.
Terribly lonely and homesick at first, Eilis eventually meets an Italian, Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen), with whom she falls in love. All goes well until a tragedy occurs back in Ireland. Returning back home for a visit, Ellis is amazed by how much her little hometown has changed. Though she doesn’t realize it at first, the small town is very much the same, it’s her who has changed. Eilis must decide whether to stay in Ireland and live the life that tragedy helped to map out for her, or return to New York, Tony, and a chance to chase her own dreams.
Although Brooklyn is clearly Ronan’s film—she appears in every scene—some excellent supporting players fill out the cast. Julie Walters consistently gets laughs as the landlady at Eilis’ boarding house, and Jim Broadbent plays the kindhearted priest who helps Eilis get used to life in America. Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson play the two men vying for Eilis’ affections from opposite sides of the Atlantic. While neither character is as fully developed as they perhaps could have been, both men express their feelings for Eilis in distinctly different ways. Kudos as well, to the half dozen or so girls that share Eilis’ boarding house. They liven up every scene in which they appear.
The costumes and production design beautifully captures the early 1950s. Saoirse Ronan wears a set of outfits that carefully charts her evolution from Irish country girl to burgeoning Brooklyn young woman. As is often the case, with the new fashions, comes a new confidence. Brooklyn is the rare film that tells a genuine story with no frills, and succeeds wonderfully.
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 20th Century Fox has provided a very nice 1080p transfer. Overall, the image is quite sharp, with just slight softness on a few, brief occasions. There is no DNR or print flaws to report. Colors and tones seem appropriately rendered throughout. Blacks are inky, and shadows are nicely delineated. Close-ups reveal a nice level of detail.
The English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track provides a rather active soundscape. Street scenes, and a visit to Coney Island are particularly immersive. Ambient effects are well executed, and dialogue sounds clean and clear throughout. While this isn’t a mix that will blow anyone away, it fits this dialogue heavy film perfectly.
English, Spanish, Russian, Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malaysian, Cantonese, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary with Director John Crowley: In this running, screen-specific commentary, Crowley offers up his thoughts on the script, the story, the characters, cinematography, the cast, and more. Unfortunately, there’s lots of dead air.
- Eleven Deleted Scenes (HD, 9:37) The lot can be viewed with audio commentary by director John Crowley, who explains why these scenes were cut or shortened.
- Six Promotional Featurettes (HD) “The Story” (3:28), “Home” (3:01), “Love” (2:58), “Cast” (4:07), “The Making of Brooklyn (3:37) and “Book to Screen” (4:00). Across these, we hear from Crowley, producers Amanda Posey and Finola Dwyer, author Colm Toibin, screenwriter Nick Hornby, and actors Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Emory Cohen, and Julie Walters. Those interviewed discuss the cast, characters, story, period elements and general information about working on the film.
- Gallery (HD) Twenty-four images from the set.
- Trailer (HD, 2:27)
- Digital HD Copy.