DVD Review – Brooklyn (2015)


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Released late last year to universal critical acclaim, John Crowley’s wonderfully charming adaptation of Colm Toibin’s novel is out now on DVD, and well worth your time.

Brooklyn tells the coming-of-age story of young, Irish immigrant Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) who lands in 1950’s Brooklyn and is forced to choose between local Italian-American boy, Tony (Emory Cohen), and hometown sweetheart, Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson).

From the outset, Brooklyn would seem to be a relatively simple, almost formulaic romantic drama, but as you watch, it becomes so much more than that. The film is charming, witty and heartbreaking all in equal measure and this is partly thanks to author Nick Hornby’s fantastic adapted screenplay from the original Toibin novel.

Arguably however, Brooklyn’s strongest point is its casting, each character is so perfectly cast, you find yourself becoming so invested and sympathetic of each character’s story that you feel every heartbreak and happy moment as much as they do. Eilis’s two love interests are wonderfully played by both Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson. Cohen’s Tony is slightly dimwitted yet hopelessly romantic, and relative newcomer Cohen shows real diversity consdering that his last role was a drug addicted teenager in 2012’s The Place Beyond Beyond the Pines. Whilst Domhnall Gleeson was painfully miscast as General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he is endearingly charming here as hometown country boy, Jim Farrell. Julie Walters puts in a brilliantly comic performance as Eilis’s Irish landlady in Brooklyn and she certainly adds a much-needed comic relief. Then there is the star, Saoirse Ronan, who earned herself a well-deserved Oscar nomination; Ronan is so good, so believable that you don’t even mind which boy she chooses by the end of the film because you know that she’ll make the right decision.

Brooklyn also gained a Bafta nomination for costume design, and it’s easy to see why as the film nostalgically looks back at 50’s attire. Upon returning to her Irish hometown, now Brooklyn-ite Eilis struts around in her 1950’s New York wardrobe, fitted with outrageously shaped and coloured sunglasses. The film paints the decade with a charming and endearing brush, where the main social events for young people were local dances in community halls.

Sweet and loveable like its characters; Brooklyn is a delightful period piece, and an absolutely perfect Mother’s Day gift!

Josh Hall

Drama, Romance | UK/USA, 2015 | 12 | Lionsgate Film | 29th February 2016 (UK) | Dir.John Crowley | Dir.John Crowley | Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters | Buy: [DVD]