Brooklyn – Director, John Crowley

Saorise Ronan (pronounced Sear-sha) is wonderful in this movie. Brooklyn tells the tale of a young Irish immigrant to America in the early 1950’s. The portrayal of her trauma from leaving her mother, sister and community to start a new life in NYC is heart wrenching. Ronan’s acting is superb and deserves recognition on February 28th. While I am a 7th generation Irish immigrant in Southern Ontario I found the experience of a new immigrant struggling between an old and new home very moving. Ultimately the opportunity of a new life wins out but I teared up a fair amount getting there. One of the most moving and beautiful scenes for me was early in the film. Ronan’s character is spending her first Christmas away alone and offers to come to the local parish to serve Christmas dinner to the street people, mostly men, who are also mostly Irish labourers now out of work and far from home. One is invited to stand up and sing, a capella, a traditional Irish folk song. Ronan’s character is brought to tears by this working man’s rendition of the haunting song Casadh an tSugain and with one listen you’ll understand why. Actually if you want to hear the song, go to this link: You don’t need any Celtic blood in your veins to be moved. Trust me.

Okay I confess, it is a real tear jerker of a movie and wonderfully acted by a cast who are young and mostly unknown here but in my opinion the absolute best of all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Hope it wins. 

A postscript. Unlike in Spotlight, the catholic church comes off much better in this film. I suppose it shows two sides of an ancient and complex organization. Ronan’s character would not have survived her trip or transition without the support of the priest and the parish in Boston. So it goes.