Volume 10, Issue 12
This week, Sarah reviews Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, and starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson
As the granddaughter of Italian immigrants who arrived in Australia in the 1950s, I spent a large portion of Brooklyn making parallels between their experiences and that depicted on screen. In particular, I thought of my nonna. She, like protagonist Ailis in the film (played by the wonderful Saoirse Ronan), was the only member of her family to move to Australia. Married by proxy to my nonno who had already headed over to earn money for the rest of his family, she then embarked on the month-long voyage to an unknown country.
Brooklyn perfectly captures the migrant experience – from the crippling homesickness, to the slow, tentative steps towards forging one’s identity as a citizen of a new country. The film tells a simple story, beautifully. It was nice to be able to watch a movie which demanded no more of me than to join the main character on her journey, as she finds love with Italian-American Tony (Emory Cohen), only to be drawn back to Ireland by a family event, and prospects of an alternate future in her country of origin. The film conveys its subject’s ambivalence as to her ‘home’, so well. How can we go back, if we are changed by what we have seen and experienced? This can be accredited to the heartfelt and at times delightfully witty- (shout out to Julie Walters who plays the very funny head of the boarding house Ailis lives at in Brooklyn)- adapted screenplay by Nick Hornby (About a Boy), and Saoirse Ronan’s performance. The costuming and cinematography also have to be credited, for having captured the spirit of the migrant experience in 1950s America, and mapping Ailis’ transition from wanting to be an ‘Irish girl in Ireland’ to being an ‘Irish girl in Brooklyn’ in such a moving and vibrant way.
5 out of 5 stars.
Sarah Goegan is a third-year JD student and the outgoing Sub-Editor of De Minimis
The rest of this issue(!):