Brooklyn tells the story of a young Irish immigrant in 1950s Brooklyn. Nick Hornby’s screenplay deftly reproduces the characters, events and the quintessential spirit of Colm Toibin’s engaging novel.
Unable to find employment in Ireland, Eilis Lacey (Saouirse Ronan) is sponsored by Father Flood (Jim Broadbent), an old friend of her sister, Rose (Fiona Glascott), to sail for America where he has secured Eilis a job and lodging in his Brooklyn parish.
There, Eilis lives in the boarding house run by eccentric Mrs Keogh (Julie Walters), whose wry pronouncements at the dinner table are most amusing. Despite her initial homesickness, Eilis is soon confidently making a new life for herself in Brooklyn.
The priest also provides care and food to many elderly Irishmen who helped build the tunnels and bridges in New York but whose skills are no longer needed. On Christmas Day, Father Flood and his helpers, Eilis included, serve them a hot turkey dinner in the parish hall. One of the most poignant moments in the film is when one of them (Larla O Lionaird) starts singing a traditional Gaelic song as his compatriots quietly sip their whiskey and remember Ireland.
In letters to Rose, Eilis confides details of her romance with Italian plumber, Tony Fiorelli (Emory Cohen). When a family tragedy prompts her to return home, Eilis finds herself being manipulated into a relationship with wealthy Jim Farrelly (Domhnall Gleeson) and also offered a job. Torn between staying in Ireland or returning to Brooklyn, Eilis must make a life-defining decision.
Brooklyn looks beautiful. The production values are top-notch. The film was nominated for best picture and best actress at the Academy Awards.