Brooklyn - A hidden gem from the Emerald Isle - Worth the search for one of the best films of 2015 - 4.5 stars

Irish eyes are smiling and crying.

Walking into the cinema...
Is the grass greener on the other side of the Atlantic, even if you come from the Emerald Isle? A classic tale of searching for a dream in America, but finding it hard to leave the past behind. 

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars
Cinematic rating: 4.5 stars 
Bigger questions rating: 4.5 stars      

        Eilise (Saoirse Ronan) is searching for a life outside her small-town Irish existence. The shores of America beckon her to leave behind all that is familiar to this young and naive Irish shop girl. With the blessing of her family, she sails to the new world in the foreboding New York City or specifically, Brooklyn. On arrival to this land of promise and the Brooklyn Dodgers, she travels through the struggles of homesickness, adjusting to a strange, new culture and developing new relationships. After beginning a new job and adjusting to life in a boarding house, she is introduced to Tony (Emory Cohen) at a dance at the local church. This young Italian plumber is captivated by the understated, but beautiful Eilise. As their relationship grows and her new found life flourishes in this land of opportunity, a family tragedy occurs back in Ireland and Eilise has to return home. She is quickly confronted with the decision to remain in her former homeland or to return to the life that she has come to love in New York.
        They do not make films like this anymore. This is a loaded statement that could illicit hope in the hearts of many or cause others to groan. In the case of Brooklyn the response  provides a joyful hope for cinema. This was a refreshing adventure that shows the possibilities of beginning a new life in America. It was a visual experience that proves to be a light in the exceptionally dark room of dystopian storytelling that pervades modern cinema. The only difficulty in watching John Crowley’s (Closed Circuit) beautiful tale was the anticipation that there would be a modern spin into a depressive state. Thankfully, this darkness never reels its ugly head. The story incorporates the realities of suffering, but it was played against a backdrop of enthusiastic anticipation for the future. In comparison to the pacing of most modern films, Brooklyn is more methodical than action, but this adds to the fresh depiction of this Irish-American tale. The church, marriage and family are unapologetically held as positive agents within the transitions of Eilise's life. Her journey becomes a captivating story that is based in reality, but garners an excitement for trying something new and being rewarded for taking that risk. Sacrifice is something that occurs in her life and that leads to a bittersweet story that will win over the audience. Even her relationship with Tony may be interpreted as old-fashioned, but their love story is one that any young couple would envy to experience within their lifetime. 
        Crowley bravely directs this relatively unknown cast in this immigrant tale and allows them to maintain their plain immigrant appearances with the potential for growth to natural physical and emotional beauty. Saoirse Ronan was perfect in the role of Eilise and proves she is maturing as an actress and has moved past her teen roles. She is surrounded by a stellar support cast that complement each step of her journey without distracting from the story itself. There are so many supporting characters that deserve mention, but the two worth highlighting are the Academy-Award winning Jim Broadbent (Paddington) and Julie Walters (Paddington). Broadbent gives a journeyman's performance as Father Flood and proves to be another brave director's choice. His character is a Catholic priest that is a pillar within the Irish community and proves to be one of the positive forces in the Irish-American community and in the life of this young female immigrant. In light of the modern view of the position of priest, this is an encouraging position for this religious figure. Walters proves to add the necessary spice to the role of head mistress for the boarding house, an adoptive mother to Eilise and the other girls. She represents the needed conscience for the young women in their journey to becoming Americans and women. The rest of the cast is perfectly woven together to enrich this new world journey and provide the needed rich colour to piece together the beautiful tapestry that is Brooklyn.  
      The latest John Crowley outing is a throw-back experience that fills a gaping hole in modern cinema. With the continual negative focus on the lives and influences of immigrants in the media, this is fresh and honest portrayal of a young immigrant that results in a beautiful story of new beginnings. This film deserves high recommendation from Russelling Reviews, it is worth seeking out and enjoying with someone you love. 
REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger ideas to consider from this film? 

          The loss of innocence is a term that leads to various expectations, but Brooklyn provides a journey in a young woman's life that shows maturation without the loss of her spirit. Crowley is able to show that the reason Eilise is able to grow into a strong woman of character is because of how she was raised and the influence of her family and the Irish community. She does not always make the right choices, but the undergirding of her faith and family allows her to find her feet in the most challenging of situations. Showing that even as she attempts to leave her former life behind, her past influences her more than she would expect and adds a richness to her new life.

1. What does the Bible say about the value of marriage? (Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 18:22)
2. How should legal immigrants be treated? (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33-34)
3. Does the Bible talk of the value of the church within a community? (Hebrews 10:24-25) 

Leaving the cinema...
This film might pass under the radar of cinema goers, because of Hunger Games, Star Wars and other holiday offerings, but it is worth searching for in the art house cinemas. It was hard to gather what the film was truly about from the trailer, but it proves to be a hidden gem. Brooklyn is worth the search and seeing this beautiful film.  

Trailer for the film

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #brooklynmovie