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WHAT'S NEW AT THE MOVIES?
Set in the 1950’s New York borough, this especially charming, beautifully made story of an Irish newcomer sweeps us all off our sensibly clad feet. Try as you might, I dare you to watch this sweet but incurably romantic tale without shedding a tear. And maybe even think of a parent, a grandparent, and, perhaps, those who are immigrating today.
Yes, Brooklyn, based on the Colm Toibin best seller, is very much of a time and place. Twenty something Eilis, played wonderfully by Saoirse Ronan, knows there is no future for her in the small Irish town where her mother and sister are happy enough living. And so she sets off for America, aided by the Church, which sets her up in a boardinghouse led by the inimitable Mrs. Keough (a dandy Julie Walters). Transition isn’t easy and in due time, Eilis establishes roots, gets an education and a wonderful Italian boyfriend. When she is called home unexpectedly, the heroine we have come to admire is thrown into a surprising conundrum, questioning her history and choices for the future.
Yes, in lesser hands, this could have been mawkish and kind of awful. But, remarkably, director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby, keep us on even keel through some treacherous waters. And while the period detail and mores are beautiful here, the story, perhaps by definition but certainly also by context, is also very relevant today, as worldwide, so many people are choosing, for one reason or another, to leave the home they love and start fresh somewhere new. Politics and individual peculiarities aside, if nothing else, this lovely movie demands that at the very least, attention to these immigrants must be paid.