Mondays are usually gloomy days, so I decided to brighten up mine by watching and writing about a movie I’ve been meaning to watch for a while now. That movie is none other than “Brooklyn”, based on the book of the same name by the Irish author Colm Tóibín.
The film follows a young girl, Eilis, who has been given the opportunity to move from Ireland to Brooklyn, America, in order to work and have a better life. She takes this offer with no hesitation, since as she says herself at some point in the movie, there’s nothing for her in Ireland. Her first days in Brooklyn are very hard, as she not only suffers from severe homesickness, but she’s also having a hard time adapting to her new way of life.
Her life is bound to change, though, when she meets an Italian guy and starts going out with him. He seems to be exactly what Eilis needed in order to get back to her feet, and her life becomes happier than ever. However, some news from her home town arrive to disrupt this happiness, and Eilis needs to make a very important choice. Where does her true home lie?
I completely adored the cinematography and everything about the era this film was set in. The shots of Ireland and later of Brooklyn in 1950s were really well made and the costumes and overall atmosphere transported me back to that period for the 2 hours this film lasted for. The music was also very nice and soothing, implementing those Irish elements when needed.
What confused me a little, though, and made me not fully enjoy the film, was Eilis as a character. She started out as the timid girl many of us can identify with and her character truly developed and grew throughout the movie. Her confidence after the first half was overflowing and she did become a woman able to stand for herself and go after what she wanted. No matter how confident she became, though, she was still unable to speak and say the things she had to in order for her to avoid some uncomfortable situations and I admit I felt frustrated with her choices and attitude in the last half of the film. I did feel that she made the right choice in the end, after all.
Some people have characterised “Brooklyn” as a “chick-flick set in the 50s”, and while I can see why, I believe it is much more than just a love story. It tackles themes such as home, growing up, family and, of course, love, but everything is put under a veil of nostalgia, in which the music plays a very important part. It’s not a superficial story and I felt that the final choice was more a personal choice of where one feels at home rather than a simple choice of love interests and partners.
I always enjoy seeing how Irish culture handles the theme of identity and home and this movie certainly had an input I hadn’t encountered before. It wasn’t an excellent movie, but it was definitely worth watching. However, I don’t think I will be reading the book any time soon.