Maysa Moncao saw the romantic drama Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson recently and sends back her thoughts on the film.
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Director: John Crowley. Lionsgate (12a)
Cast & credits
Producers: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey.
Writer: Nick Hornby.
Camera: Yves Belanger.
Music: Michael Brook.
Sets: François Séguin.
Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Waters.
Based on Colm Toibin’s best-selling novel, it tells the story of young woman in a post-war small town in Ireland and her dilemma between hometown and the new promise of America. Overcoming waves of homesickness, Ellis (Saoirse Ronan) sets about establishing her new life in New York and soon falls in love with an Italian-American guy, Tony (Emory Cohen). But then she has to return to Ireland due to family issues.
When I left the screening room of Brooklyn, I thought, “well, it is just another movie”. Suddenly I saw a huge line outside Odeon in Leicester Square, around midday on a weekday. Are they all here for the same movie I have just seen? It couldn’t be. And therefore it was. Obviously I was unaware of the appeal Brooklyn has had on a certain type of audience, of a certain age. And just yesterday my unconscious feeling was confronted again by a second fact, which was the Hollywood Film Awards.
Saoirse Ronan (a younger version of Kate Winslet; I swear to God I thought it was Kate on the poster) had won the prize for Best Actress. She then clarified to me why I couldn’t see Brooklyn as a popular film: “Nothing will ever prepare you for the feeling you get when you leave home for the first time. The freedom of being on your own on a new place where not everyone knows your auntie is exciting. The next moment you can barely see in front of you because all you want to do is to come back.”
What comes to my mind right now is that Beatles’ song: ‘She Is Leaving Home’. McCartney got the story on the Daily Mirror, and it was a common fact at that time, girls going out to live out with croupiers or men from the motor trade.
This reality of innocent girls taking a ship or a motor ride and soon after regretting their decisions does not appeal to me. And probably this is the missing link between my reading of Brooklyn. I always knew life is tough, even when facts of life surprise me. On the other hand, I have to admit that there are still plenty of girls who bet on the American dream and on the idea that a marriage would bring them safety.
The plot was designed to make you believe in two truths:
- Home is home.
- Love is there for you, if you are correct.
Life is not linear and a cinema that tends to represent the world as being ruled by logic can’t be attractive to me. But here is where I fail: the Brooklyn that is shown is not that one of the highest average of crime rates in NY. Also is not that one by the end of a bridge, which historically connected two different cities. The film Brooklyn enthusiastically portrays a solitary neighborhood. An attempt of reconstruction of home. If I was to reconstruct it in Brooklyn, I would have commissioned The Mumford and Sons folk version of ‘She Is Leaving Home. It would be my ideal soundtrack to it. But yet I have no aspiration to be a filmmaker or a musician. I just write about films. People still want to dream and I am insisting on giving them lenses. Mea culpa.
See the official trailer on Youtube.