Honestly, I don't often get excited about new movies. Mostly because the movie they make nowadays aren't usually my style, but also because I'm not that person who researches new movies that are coming out and gets psyched out for them. (I rather live under a rock, you see.) BUT I was fairly excited for this one. Partly because it's a period drama about IRISH PEOPLE, and partly because my best friend is that person who researches new movies and gets psyched out for them, and she has a way of rubbing off on me. ;-) So I was extremely glad to learn they were showing Brooklyn at the theater in my town!
I went to see it, with my two sisters and cousin. And it was gorgeous.
And emotional, and heart-tugging, and memorable, and absolutely beautiful.
I guess you could say Brooklyn affected me in some special way, if you were to judge by how much it made me cry. The answer to that is lots. It's not such a sad story, as much as it's a real story. I could imagine myself in Eilis's place, and I think that's what made it so emotional for me. I started crying right at the beginning when Eilis left on the ship for America, and hadn't stopped for long before I'd start right up again. This movie got me, folks. (Right in the feels, as they say. ;-P) It's about a girl who leaves her old home to find a new one, and then is torn as to which country, which people, her home really lies with.
Plus they're all Irish, which automatically makes EVERYTHING MORE EMOTIONAL.
Eilis Lacey (pronounced Ae-lish -- you're welcome) is a young woman living with her mother and older sister in a small Irish village. She has a job at a shop in town, but her boss is nastier than nasty, and her sister Rose finds her a place in America through a priest she knows there. So Eilis is off for America -- Brooklyn, to be exact.
Eilis leaves. (And Emma starts crying.) And our story, along with its heroine, has taken wing.
Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis, and she's extraordinary. Not only is she absolutely gorgeous in a sort of robust, unique way, but she's got a presence about her, a way of delivery, that makes her fascinating to watch. It's Eilis's story, about how her life changes and how she grows throughout, and Saoirse Ronan carries it very well. She makes you feel for the character -- well, at least I did. ;-P
Her face is so amazing -- somehow she has a way of expressing untold feelings through no more than a steady gaze. Just look:
Eilis sort of cries a lot. Usually when female heroines cry a lot, it bugs me, and makes me like them less because they can't keep it together. But it wasn't like that with Eilis, because I understood why she was crying. She had a right to. (And every time she cried, it made me want to cry too.) First of all, here she is going off by herself to an unfamiliar country where she doesn't know a soul (besides Jim Broadbent, that is) and doesn't know what the future will hold for her. It's scary. Then a tragedy strikes her family back home, and she has to make a very hard decision -- whether to stay in Ireland, with her mother, and take the chance to keep her old life -- or go back to America, where a whole other part of her heart lies. It really is painful. I'm talking about leaving your roots for something totally different -- but something that is, ultimately, your destiny.
Yes, this is one of those Irish period dramas that will rip your heart out. ;-) (Boy, those Irish. They know how to really get you, don't they?)
In Brooklyn, Eilis starts working in a swanky department store. She stays in a boarding house run by a cantankerous but kind lady (Julie Walters) and inhabited by several other girls who are constantly giggling and teasing at the dinner table. ("A giddy girl is just as bad as a slothful man, and the noise she makes is a great deal worse!") She's TERRIBLY homesick at first, but slowly she gets used to her new life. And then she goes to an Irish dance and meets an Italian dude. The Italian dude's name is Tony.
(Well, come on, you KNEW she was going to fall in love.)
It doesn't take long for Eilis to fall for Tony. Admittedly, Tony is pretty great. Actually he's a lot greater than I thought he would be. When he first appeared, leaning up against the wall at the dance, my impression was a mixture of "OOOOH HE'S CUTE" and "waaaaaait....is he going to be trouble?" Because I only wanted the best for Eilis. He proved me wrong, though. I really like Tony (despite the fact that he kind of always sounds like he's drunk -- he's really not, that's just his voice.) The way he wooed and won Eilis was adorable.
|Or maybe I just really like his shirt? :o|
Oh, and I LOVED it when he took her to meet his family. The little brother totally stole the scene. "First of all, I should mention we don't like Irish people."
Eilis's giddy friends had to teach her about eating spaghetti before she went over to Tony's house. (We don't really need to mention this, I just wanted to used this gif.)
So Eilis has Tony, and her job, and she's finally finding her place in Brooklyn. But then she gets the really really sad news that her sister -- her beautiful, kind, selfless sister Rose-- is dead. So she does the only thing a devoted daughter would do, and she goes back to Ireland to comfort her mother.
Oh, but before she leaves, Tony wants her to marry him.
So she does. But the night before that, they go to her room after hours, and...that's why the move is rated PG-13, for that scene right there. Since I don't believe in sex before marriage, I wasn't thrilled. (Plus I never want to actually watch anyone doing the deed on a movie screen, because that's just weird.) But even though I didn't appreciate it, it didn't make me hate the characters. It changed the way I felt about them, yes. Only a little bit. I still love Eilis and I still know Tony will treat her well.
Back in Ireland, Eilis is sort of sucked back into her old life. Her mother wants her to stay, her best friend wants to fix her up with this guy, and once the guy gets to know her, he wants her to stay too. The thing is, Eilis doesn't tell anyone she's married. She never told her mother about Tony, and now she's afraid to. Tony is miles and miles and an ocean away, and the longer she stays, the easier it is for her to imagine staying -- for good, in Ireland.
The 'guy' her best friend wants to fix her up with is Jim Farrell (which, hey, is actually the name of the Irish guy in the Titanic musical) played by Domnhall Gleeson, who is apparently rising in fame because his name is sounding familiar to me. Jim Farrell is actually really nice. Eilis begins to imagine what her life would be like with him, and Tony feels more and more distant...
Now, there are some people *cough cough* who apparently did not understand why Eilis didn't open Tony's letters, or why she would even CONSIDER choosing Jim Farrell and Ireland over Tony the Italian Plumber and America. (These are the same people who came up with the notion that Tony has similar characteristics to Johnny Depp. ???) But I did. My sister Sadie and I talked about this. :-) Ireland was Eilis's home for so much of her life; and sweet, attentive Jim Farrell represented home. If she'd never left, she could marry him and be happy. But the fact remained, she had left. She was torn between two places and two lives, and couldn't help but wonder if she was doing the right thing. In many ways, I think she probably wished things could be the way they were. But they couldn't. Things could never be the same.
Eilis's last parting with her mother just about killed me. Because you could see it was killing her to have to say goodbye to her Mammy, to have to tear herself once again from her the country where her roots were. If I were Eilis, I think I would have done the same thing, but it would have been very, very hard.
OHHHHHHH AND THEN SHE GOES BACK.
They did a Great Thing with Eilis's voyage back home. When she first sailed to America herself, she was naive about the world, inexperienced, and had no idea what to do or what to expect. There was another girl who gave her advice about what to do and what not to do, how to present herself when she got to Brooklyn. Well, on Eilis's next voyage, she's that girl. She meets a young Irish girl on the ship who is in much the same place Eilis herself was in before, and now she's the one giving advice and being the guardian angel. And it's sooooooo meaningful, because now you see that Eilis really has grown up, and she knows where her heart is. I love that they did that.
"You have to think like an American. You'll feel so homesick that you'll want to die, and there's nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won't kill you. And one day, the sun will come out you might not even notice straight away -- it'll be that faint. And then you'll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who's only yours. And you'll realize that this is where your life is."
THAT LINE. THAT LINE RIGHT THERE. RIGHT IN THE FEELS, I TELL YOU.
How did I feel when it was over? Completely speechless. Overcome. Happy. I sat staring at the movie screen as the credits rolled by, tiny tears rolling down my cheeks, feeling that feeling I get whenever I've really experienced a movie -- one that meant something to me, one that'll stay with me for a long time. Then, as the crowd left their seats and shuffled out, I stood up, put on my coat, and went home.
Because home is home.