Monday, December 14, 2015
Brooklyn (a movie review post)
As it turns out, that's really all it's about, a girl who moves to Brooklyn. More specifically, it's about an Irish girl who moves to Brooklyn because she can't find work in her small village in Ireland. It's also a love story. It's the love story of the girl and the Italian boy she falls for, but it's also the love story of the girl and the city she falls in love with.
The movie is good. It's not great, but it's solid, and I enjoyed it. The relationships between the girls at the boarding house where Eilis stays are colorful, to say the least, and the boarding house scenes, mostly around the dinner table, are quite humorous.
The acting, for lack of a better way of saying it, is steady. Saoirse Ronan does a good job of playing someone who is rather lost and confused for much of the movie but, as such, her role is a bit understated. I like Jim Broadbent, but that's mostly just about him. Emory Cohen, as Tony, is probably the most dynamic of the cast. He certainly carries a lot of charisma with him in a bit of a James Franco kind of way. But, really, there's nothing remarkable here. No one to write home to Ireland about.
This next part is a bit spoilery. That's all the warning you'll get.
The biggest issue for me with the story is that Eilis is so passive. She doesn't move to Brooklyn because she wants to; she moves because her sister arranged it because her sister felt she would have better opportunities in the United States. A priest her sister knows arranges for her a place to stay and a job. She falls in love with the boy not because she falls in love with him but because he falls in love with her.
Later, when she has to return to Ireland because of a family death, she almost stays because she just keeps doing the things other people arrange for her: a new job, a new boy, a return to her old, small life. It was distressing to watch her just go along. But only mildly distressing because Eilis seems so unconcerned herself, unconcerned to the point of not even reading the letters she's receiving from her boy in Brooklyn.
The movie just goes on like that until you -- or, at least, I -- wonder what's going on and what's going to happen because, just from a time perspective, the movie must be almost over and there's no real way out for her from what's going on. The way that comes is sudden and contrived and leads to the only active choice that Eilis makes, the choice to return to Brooklyn. And the movie ends. We do get to see her get back, but, really, it's that sudden, and I was left feeling a bit... unsatisfied.
My wife liked it more than me.
But let me go back and say again: It's a good movie, and I did enjoy it. It's just not great. The rising action is too slow and doesn't rise high enough for the conflict, when it happens, to provide much of a climax, then the movie is just over. But, maybe, that's the way of life, which is really what this movie is: life. I wouldn't say it's a must see, but it's worth watching.