Vacations are exhuberant, transformative; a time to shed the inflexibility of the daily, weekly routine; scrape away layers of sameness, predictability; unlock the imagination to the wonders of the unknown, allowing oneself to bask in the intricacies of a foreign culture or simply a venue away from the norm; returning refreshed, appreciative of the comforts, even obligations, expected from the known.
After seventeen days away from the darkened halls of titillation, I commenced my renewed sensibility by viewing “Brooklyn”, an enchanting, wonderful tale of a young Irish immigrant; futureless, she leaves the choking atmosphere of a small town in Ireland, sailing to New York, 1952; Saoirse Ronan, as “Eiles Lacey” is sublime, captivating as the homesick, heartsick, naive migrant; adjusting to a female, restrictive boarding house, toiling as a department store clerk; the monotony of her days is broken by “Father Flood” (perfect Jim Broadbent) who encourages her to attend night classes; she also goes, with her fellow boarders, to a social where she encounters “Tony Fiorello” (Emory Cohen is magnetic), an Italian boy who likes Irish girls; love evolves until tragedy intervenes, and Eiles returns to Ireland, where she is wooed by handsome, wealthy “Jim Farrell” (Domhnall Gleeson,“Ex Machina”); “choices” resonate at the core of the film.
Directed by John Crowley (based on the novel by Colm Toibin) “Brooklyn” soars as Eiles matures, doffing the shackles of the neophyte, insecurity overwhelmed by confidence; she blossoms, but nary a dent pierces her moral fiber, she is good, pure and one of the most likeable protagonists in recent films.
“Brooklyn”, stunningly, quietly filmed scores on a myriad of levels: boundaries, where one’s loyalties reside, which side of the ocean does one choose?; searching for “self”, acceptance in an alien world; wisdom, intelligence, reality simmer at the epicenter of this beautiful, heartwarming movie, leaving viewers happily satiated, smiling as they exit; joyously acknowledging the gift rendered by all who participated in this jewel of entertainment.