"Brooklyn" is a tribute to the immigrants who left their homes with nothing in their pockets and risked everything to begin a new life in the United States. Due to my personal family history, I can appreciate the challenges faced by these characters as they integrated into American society. The setting of 1950's Brooklyn is fascinating as the Irish and Italian cultures (and their accents) meld together while preserving their identities. The story is as beautiful as the setting, pairing a blossoming romance with an independent search for identity. The film doesn’t rely on fancy camera tricks or special effects; instead, the simplicity of the story and strong connection to the characters keeps us engaged and interested. The Oscar-nominated screenplay provides a combination of comical and sentimental moments that give us an immediate attachment to the main character. The meet cute keeps us hoping that she will choose her American life and the scenes around the dinner table at the boarding house are hysterical. The script sets up an amazing story but this film is truly about great acting. Saoirse Ronan steals the screen with her performance. Her Irish accent is flawless and, when you add in her emotional moments and transition throughout the film, her Oscar nomination is a no-brainer. She has grown quite a bit since her nomination for “Atonement” but, unlike many successful child actors, this role has established that her greatest roles are yet to come. I still can’t get over that accent. The same can be said for Jim Broadbent, who masters his accent and makes an impact in spite of his limited screentime. This was a big year for Domhnall Gleeson but I preferred him in “Ex Machina” and “Star Wars” over his role in this film. “Brooklyn” is the complete package as it offers a beautiful coming-of-age story, one of my favorite acting performances of 2015 (Ronan), and a great ending that brings the film full circle.
[Pictured: Ronan gives the best performance of her career, which is impressive with films like "Atonement" and "The Lovely Bones" on her resume.]