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By Megan Bianco
Saoirse Ronan is a young actress that, despite her much deserved Oscar nomination at age 13 for Atonement (2007), has been having trouble finding a niche for her career. After disappointments and duds like Hanna (2011) and The Host (2013), she’s finally landed hits with The Grand Budapest Hotel last year and especially with Brooklyn this fall. Director Jon Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel is a quiet, touching tale of love and discovery.
In 1952, 20-year-old Eilis Lacey (Ronan) gets the chance of a lifetime to immigrate from her small Irish hometown to Brooklyn, New York. She quickly lands a job in a shop while also taking night classes to study accounting for a future career. During all of this, Eilis meets a local Italian man, Tony (Emory Cohen) who is instantly smitten with her, while there is also an Irish man back home, Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) she’s attracted to.
Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent co-star as Eilis’ landlord and priest. Ronan is famous for being able to easily slip into fake accents, but it’s when she’s allowed to use her real Irish accent that she looks most natural and comfortable. Crowley’s film is sweet and pleasant on its own and has some of this year’s best cinematography. But the real standout is Ronan’s performance, reminding us of her potential and talent. We see through her eyes worry and wonderment while exploring a new country and being torn between lovers. Brooklyn is for fans of good acting and period pieces.