“I’ve written before about how I sometimes feel obligated to see certain movies. This is especially true during Oscar season. I saw Saoirse Ronan’s name on a list of locks for Best Actress in one of my most trusted Oscar sources. I resisted. The trailer made it look like this sappy gooey romance. Blech. Then I saw her name again on a similar list in my other most trusted Oscar source. And the film was on their list of possible Best Pictures. Fine. I’ll go.

Actually, schedule wise it worked out pretty well. I had an NYC trip planned for Sat, but the theater that plays indie movies had early screenings of this the Thur before. I suppose I could give up a yoga class to stay on top of movies. Besides, the next few weeks would be craziness of activities and muddled movie schedules trying to figure out what the real release dates are for things.

This is one of those times where I actually am glad that I felt obligate to see a movie. I actually loved it! Ronan plays Eilis, a young girl who has immigated to America from Ireland in the 50’s, torn between her two homes. Once she starts finding happiness in her new country, tragedy pulls her back to her old one. There she finds that most of her reason for leaving are no longer an issue and she must decide between settling back into her old ways of life or returning to her new chapter.

As stated previously, the trailers play this up as a romance. And yes, that is a big part of the story. There is a boy for her in each country that make her decision that much more complicated. However, that’s not what the film is about. Her suitors really serve as a metaphor for her love of each locale, and she is most certainly not defined by either of them. In fact, this is an incredible fully realized character, and just for that I was happy to see the film. Ronan’s performance is fantastic, emotional, and moving, and I certainly do stand behind her seemingly eventual awards nomination.

And hey, the romance? I actually did find my inner monologue shouting things like “”No! You belong with [boy]!”” or “”Stay with him”” or whatever drivel usually accompanies such features. Sure, the boys may have been idealized perfection, but it is kinda nice to have those tables turned instead of the usual girls who serve no purpose but as romantic interests, and often inappropriate ones.

I think the way it ended (no spoilers, don’t worry) was absolutely beautiful. The final sequence mirrored an earlier one and brought such a great sense of closure to everything. The internet has told me that whole bit was added in for the movie, taking out the ambiguity of the book’s ending. The result is simply stunning.

Brooklyn – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

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