Holy shit, this is a sweet movie! Not since Once did some Irish jerks get to me like this. I love it and I resent it. I mean, why should I have to feel all sad when I watch a movie? Or walk around after, like, “Will I ever know love, truly?”
Brooklyn takes place in the 1950’s where everything is innocent and quaint. Ellis a plain Irish lass (Saiorse Ronan) travels to America for a better life. She’s shy and awkward, but on the boat “across the pond” as they say, she meets a wordly, kinda slutty but kind-hearted lady who gives her helpful life hacks, like “Look confident, know where you’re going, you have to think like an American.” She also puts make-up on Ellis and makes her wear stylish new combinations of clothes that she already owns.
When Ellis lands in America, she’s terrible at life. She lives in a boarding house where she’s the most quiet and doesn’t even seem to mind the loose girls making fun of her. She’s awful at her department store clerk job where she works for Megan Draper (Jessica Pare). It’s so bad that the Cardinal, who set her up in the US, has to step in. He enrolls her in night school where she gets more confidence, prettier, and better at life.
Things heat up when she meets an I-talian, Tony (Emory Cohen – Cohen?!). They fall in sweet, slow-courtship-love. I kept waiting for him to do something mean to her, so mid-film, I had to question myself as to whether I’m racist against Italians. I had to conclude, no, I’m not, but in pretty much every movie and TV show, Italians in the 50’s are portrayed as thugs and players who “good” girls can’t trust (lookin’ at you, Fonz! & all Travolta roles in the 80’s!). I’ll let you decide if Tony’s a good guy or not.
A family issue forces Ellis to travel back to Ireland, where she’s different and everyone notices. She’s stylish now. She can’t help it she’s been living in New York! She’s self-possessed, smart, worldly, un-intimidated by guys and can banter like a mo-fo. She’s also incredibly pretty. An Irish guy gets a crazy crush on her. A guy she could never get before! She could have a good life in Ireland now, but her life is in Brooklyn—OR IS IT??!!!
This film is winning. It’s a wonderful, period love story. Movies like this can easily fall into saccharine over-drive and hacky nonsense. But this one was written by Nick Hornby. Yes, High Fidelity and About a Boy Nick Hornby.
It’s nominated for three Oscars and twenty-three other awards including Baftas, Golden Globes, Dublin Film Critics Awards, Australian Somethings and on and on. It even won the Detroit Film Critic Society’s award for Best Actress. It’s a heavy-hitter indie film gem.
Is it a good date movie? YES! It’s a classic date movie, which will for-sure lead to an awesome make-out sesh. Enjoy!