Extra DVD

Brooklyn: Saoirse Ronan.
Brooklyn: Saoirse Ronan.

Brooklyn (Cert 12)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Julie Walters, Emily Bett Rickards, Eve Macklin, Mary O’Driscoll, Nora-Jane Noone, Jim Broadbent, Brid Brennan, Jane Brennan, Fiona Glascott, Jessica Pare.

Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a shrinking violet in 1950s Enniscorthy. She lives with her mother (Jane Brennan) and older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), and earns a meagre crust at a shop run by the imperious Miss Kelly (Brid Brennan).

Thanks to Rose, Eilis secures a one-way ticket to a brighter future in New York. Holy man Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) places Eilis at a boarding house for single girls run by Mrs Kehoe (Julie Walters), who clucks over the lodgers including Patty (Emily Bett Rickards), Diana (Eve Macklin), Miss McAdam (Mary O’Driscoll) and Sheila (Nora-Jane Noone). Eilis’ homesickness gradually fades and she excels as a salesgirl at a department store under floor manager Miss Fortini (Jessica Pare). She also sparks a tender romance with a handsome plumber called Tony (Emory Cohen).

The lovebirds marry in secret, but when Eilis returns home to Enniscorthy, local boy Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) unexpectedly turns her head.

Adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Colm Toibin’s novel of the same name, Brooklyn is a classic, old-fashioned love triangle, which combines elegant storytelling, strong performances and swoonsome visuals.

John Crowley’s handsome picture harks back to a bygone era of restrictive social mores and is anchored by a tour-de-force performance from Oscar nominee Ronan.

The 21-year-old Irish-American actress doesn’t hit a false emotional note, contrasting the naivete of her heroine’s early days away from home with the self-assurance of an immigrant, who finally realises that she belongs.

Gentle comedy courtesy of Walters underpins the anguished vacillations of the heart and stokes dramatic tension as Eilis dithers between her two paramours.

Rating: 4/5