A beautiful voyage of self-discovery and one agonising choice. Set in 1950s New York and Ireland.
Brooklyn (2015)

She took the boat to Brooklyn. A chance for a new opportunity, a new life. A life of her own. Stripped from the very mould that shaped her, exposed to the world for the first time. A leap of faith. A voyage of self-discovery and love. It’s only by leaving behind everything you have known that you can truly find out who you are.

I grew up in a very small village. There were no amenities, the Internet was terrible and the population was almost entirely comprised of the older generation. But it was home. How could it not be, It was all I had known. When you stay somewhere for so long you begin to get complacent, living the lives of those around you instead of your own. It might have been my parents’ dream at the time to live in the countryside but it wasn’t mine, I just didn’t know it yet.

To find your true home is to find yourself. It’s to learn where you are at your happiest, where you are most comfortable. I’m yet to find mine but for now, it’s the city. The crowded streets give me energy, the bars and clubs a chance to express myself. I left my little village to attend University in a city on the other side of the country and had never felt more alive. Being alone in a new place was liberating. I’m living in my local city now but I’m restless. I crave new surroundings and experiences. Perhaps I’ll never truly feel settled, but Brooklyn gives me hope.

Brooklyn is not a melodramatic work. It’s more akin to Before Sunrise than it is to period romance counterpart Pride and Prejudice. The focus is on the intricacies and the subtleties of self-exploration, love and family. Saoirse Ronan’s impressive performance is muted and nuanced, leaving ample room to breathe for the other characters and the locations themselves. Lush and vibrant colours are prevalent throughout, providing the sensory experience in tandem with the more subtle tones of the narrative.

Eilis has a choice: to live a completely new life in Brooklyn or to enhance her current one in Ireland. Her inner turmoil is represented by two men. Tony Fiorello is Brooklyn personified – he’s suave and calming, offering the chance to join a new family and way of living. Jim Farrell is the Irish opposite – polite and relatable, exuding all the ways of life of Eilis’ home town. The important thing to note here is that there is no ‘perfect’ choice. Each one opens many doors and opportunities but also closes some. Regret is inevitable but joy is only a possibility.

The right choice is the one that you take.

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