The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
Brooklyn: The Prequel to Girls
By Alex Carrigan
*Editor's Note: This article is part of a series written by Alex Carrigan about this year's Academy Award nominated films. To see the rules for this challenge and to find other articles related to it, go to this page.
It sure was nice for nature to let me have the day off from work so I could watch and review Brooklyn. Sure, I can't actually go anywhere and have to worry about how long it will take for cabin fever to set in, but at least I can make cinnamon rolls and tea and try to be as posh as possible as I critique. It's times like this that I'm glad I have the chance to be more in control of my environment. I can watch a movie in my bedroom, then go downstairs and make salmon for dinner. That personal freedom that has come with my newly found independence is quite nice.
It's the same kind of independence that Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) searches for in Brooklyn. Eilis is a young Irish woman who leaves her small town in Ireland for Brooklyn, New York in the early 1950s. The film follows her as she tries to adjust to her new life in America, from acquiring an education to finding love. It's all about watching her deal with the Irish background she came from and the new possibilities that come from America, and wondering who she'll become by the end of the film.
Remember a few days ago when I mentioned that every Oscar race has a few films that could appreciate the Best Picture nod but probably stand no chance of winning? Well, sadly, Brooklyn is that movie.
Brooklyn is not a bad movie. In fact, I think it's very well made. It's got a good actress helming the story, and it's entirely relatable. For anyone who ever had to move a great distance and reinvent themselves, this is a story that can strike a nerve with feelings of homesickness and uncertainty. For me, who just moved out of his family home for a new job two and a half hours away, this did feel close to me. I didn't have a case as extreme as Eilis', but I could still sympathize with her and wonder if I was doing things right.
Unfortunately, that did mean I found the film a little dull. While Eilis' story is nice, there's very little drama in the story. Sure, she has some problems early on, but those are all resolved quite easily. Because of that, the film goes a while before anything really happens to advance the story. I could enjoy watching Eilis and her boyfriend go on dates in their cute, 1950's way, but I wasn't sure what to feel. Even when she goes back to Ireland following a family tragedy, I could tell what was going to happen. This made the last hour of the film somewhat predictable as a result.
I think the issue with Brooklyn is that, while it's well made and a decent character story, just doesn't have the meat to really keep it around. It's not saying a lot about the human experience that hasn't been done better in other films, and I really don't feel it holds up compared to other films up for Best Picture this year. I went into this thinking I'd at least see a really good performance from Ronan to save it, but even she was just passable. I've liked her in a lot of other movies, but she didn't do anything groundbreaking or exciting with this role. She can carry a quiet scene, and she has an air of civility and grace to her, but the role simply didn't live up to her abilities.
It's a shame, since I really wanted to like Brooklyn. This was one of the films I knew the least about going into this series, and I wanted to be surprised by it. I wanted to think this was a secret gem of the group, or at least something that could be a secret favorite for some viewers. Unfortunately, it was a little too passive and dull for me, so I don't think it's going to have any impact once this Oscar race is done.
2nd: Mad Max: Fury Road
3rd: The Revenant
4th: The Martian
Tomorrow: I watch Bridge of Spies to continue my spree of period dramas, and try to see how my notions of Spielberg hold up.
#Real #FilmReview #Brooklyn #OscarChallenge
Visit our shop and subscribe. Sponsor us. Submit and become a contributor. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Christopher Sloce you know mine @sloceology