Well, what do you know? I have just seen the most romantic movie of the year, and that is “Brooklyn.” Directed by John Crowley, the movie is based on Colm Toibin’s book, and Nick Hornsby adapted the screenplay. It really is a pretty straightforward story, when you look at its bone structure. A young lady moves from Ireland to the United States (Brooklyn) and creates her own life, and falls in love. A tragedy brings her back home, and she takes stock of her life, and she – and ultimately us, the audience, too – asks the question: where and what defines home.
That young lady is Ellis, and she is masterfully played by Saoirse (pronounced Sher-sa) Ronan, in a performance that will probably propel her to stardom. She is the heart and soul of the movie, and we see her transform herself to a naïve young lady to a confident woman, and we see this transformation right before our eyes in such a richly textured but subtle manner that we don’t even realize it is happening until it does. Ronan has the most expressive face, and each muscle and molecule of her body acts. Her love interest, Tony (Emery Cohen) is the perfect match, and Cohen gives an innocent yet assured performance. (and he is quite handsome, reminiscent of a young Andrew McCarthy) As their courtship unfolded before my eyes, there is such a sweet tenderness to it, that when they doing their courtship, I found myself crying, because it felt so real, so true, so honest. I was a wreck by the time they confessed their love for each other.
Above all, I loved this movie because it is a love story. It can at times feel like an immigrant tale, or a coming-of-age saga, or a historical account of he 1950s, but make no mistake, the love story is its core. I was very impressed to find an almost full house in my usual afternoon screening, so it is clearly finding an audience, and deservedly so. It is good to see people still believe in love.