EXEC Alan Moloney
PROD Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
SCR Nick Hornby
CAM Yves Bélanger
ED Jake Roberts
PROD DES François Séguin
MUS Michael Brook
PROD CO HanWay Films
Lured from Ireland by the American Dream in the wake of WWII, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) instead lands in the hardscrabble reality of 50s-era Brooklyn, with its cramped boarding houses and grungy dancehalls where bad decisions wait to be made. There’s an avuncular priest to offer guidance (Jim Broadbent) and a stern landlady (the scene-stealing Julie Walters) to keep her in line, but Eilis can’t help but fall prey to homesickness. Then, she meets Tony (Emory Cohen) and begins to see a possible future in America (even if it means enduring the anti-Irish wrath of his kid brother). Alas, the fates conspire against her as tragedy calls her home. Greeted by her old community like a conquering queen and gallantly pursued by an insistent suitor (Domhnall Gleeson), Eilis suddenly finds herself at the most vexing of crossroads.
With Nick Hornby having masterfully adapted Colm Tóibín’s beloved novel, John Crowley crafts a stirring immigration tale that also serves as a rousing account of female empowerment. Often cutting a figure of fierce determination on screen (including in her breakout role in VIFF 2007’s Atonement), Ronan here has the ideal role to display her ability to eloquently convey an inner emotional maelstrom in which exhilaration and restraint vie for control. In this moving romantic drama, she couldn’t be any more compelling.
"Classily and classically crafted in the best sense… [Brooklyn] provides the feeling of being lifted into a different world altogether, so transporting is the film’s sense of time and place and social mores… The narrative in both the novel and the film is so rigorously calibrated that, when it comes down to the decision about which man and which country she will pick, it feels more like a suspense tale, with lives hanging in the balance."—Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter