Brooklyn DVD Review

DVD Review by Jarred Tito

The Premise
An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a new romance. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

The Review
Of the recent movies that I have scene which fall into the category of drama/ romance / period movie with a touch of 'coming of age', this was by far the most satisfying and complete. Director John Crowley understands the subtleties of romantic 'tension and release' in drama and applies these techniques throughout the movie while maintaining the integrity of a well crafted story. Although the film is by no means a long viewing at only 83 minutes, it is still able to deliver a thoroughly believable and complete telling of Eillis Lacey's migration to New York city from Ireland.
Brooklyn successfully balances drama with historical facts in this period piece. Nick Hornby, the author of the novel this film is based on, has made sure to research this period around the 1950s thoroughly which is essentially an international romance story. The result is that this film also plots something of the economic struggle of Ireland which saw many Irish people leaving for America in the hope of making a better life for themselves which is a narrative for many. My mind was taken back to several immigration films including the Ron Howard 1992 film 'Far and Away' which starred Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman. For my money, Brooklyn is a much better told story. I was also reminded of the classic animated film 'An American Tale' (executive producer Stephen Spielberg). Although the subject matter was about Russian mice migrating to New York, there is something of the adventure captured in both films which I have to admit I found equally appealing and enjoyable.
There are the elements of the catholic church embedded throughout Brooklyn, which is no doubt true to popular history, which plays a major role in relocating much of the Irish to New York. I guess this film makes an account for the fact that there are so many Irish descendants in New York. But at no point do we, the viewers, ever feel like the story is saturated with catholic overtones as it becomes clear that for most Irish immigrants the church was part of their social staple. However, aside from all of the political and religious themes, Brooklyn is a story of an enduring romance and true love.

The Verdict
Brooklyn is a film that I would have no hesitation in recommending to anyone who enjoys an adventure and an endearing tale of love. It was nice to view some story telling of quality. There are moments of comedy which I would have to say were not necessarily written as such but because of the actor’s deliveries in certain scenes, became moments to giggle at. Great performances were certainly a big factor in this endearing film.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 4th May 2016
Rating: M – Contains sex scenes and offensive language
Duration: 111 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Julie Walters, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent
Director: John Crowley (Boy A)

The Extras
Partly filmed in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland. Each location used in the town such as shops and pubs have pictures of the production in the windows.

Julie Walters described her character Mrs. Kehoe as a "very, very attractive and sexually charismatic woman" when promoting the film on The Graham Norton Show (2007). She also said her co-star Saoirse Ronan's talent makes her want to go back to drama school.

Among Irish film productions, it had the best local debut at the box office in 19 years. In Ireland, the film had the widest theatrical release ever for an Irish movie and it's opening gross was the highest since Michael Collins (1996) opened in November 1996.

The city of Brooklyn in the film was actually shot in Montreal for budgeting reasons, as the production was unable to turn 2015 Brooklyn back to 1950s Brooklyn. Only one day of production was spent in Brooklyn, in order to create the brownstone exterior shots.

The book features a dream sequence in which Ellis deals with her homesickness. It was originally set to be featured in the script, but was ultimately cut. In the book, Eilis has a dream where she is drifting over the cliffs and you can see her hometown in the distance. Director John Crowley considered it beautiful and was eager to have the scene in the film, but screenwriter Nick Hornby said the idea would have been a cliché.

Saoirse Ronan herself was born in The Bronx, New York, but raised in Ireland to Irish parents. She considers 'Brooklyn' to be one of her most personal films and it marks the first time she uses her Irish accent in a film. In an interview with 'David Poland' she expressed her concern with taking the role:"I felt like I can't mess this up, because all of Ireland will be watching. I felt a huge responsibility to the country to really capture what the story was." However, she said the warm reception at the Sundance Film Festival made her realize the universal essence of the film.