Nov 24, 2015

Ronan is a sure bet for an Oscar nomination.


Grade: A

Director: John Crowley (Closed Circuit)

Screenplay: Nick Hornby (Wild) from Colm Toibin novel.

Cast: Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), Jim Broadbent (Crying Game)

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 111 min.

by John DeSando

“Home is home.” Tony (Emory Cohen)

In a beautiful and sentimental film called Brooklyn, two loves dominate: love of Ireland and Brooklyn, love of one man in Ireland and love of another in America. Behind it is the longing to make a home in a new world or return to a home one knows.

The longing for each of these elements forms the conflict for young Eilis (Saiorse Ronan), an Irish girl who strikes out in the 1950’s  for America and a better life only to experience profound home sickness that makes her see how good her life had been.

“Homesickness is like most sicknesses. It will pass.” Father Flood (Jim Broadbent)

Before you decide on any current immigration reform proposals, see Brooklyn and discover the powerful pull of our great country and yet the sacrifice an immigrant makes, especially giving up the simpler life on the beautiful Emerald Isle. This rewarding story of Eilis’s decisions, difficult and almost painful as they are, satisfies with insight about the joys and sorrows of seeking a newer world.

There’s even a subplot about Father flood, who helps Eilis come to America and adjust. The compassionate prelate does much to readjust attitudes toward the currently-exposed pedophiliac Church as it reminds us of the good the Church can do despite its rogue priests.

The film belongs to Ms. Ronan, whose projection of a not-so-extremely beautiful girl with brains and a very big heart should earn her an Oscar nomination. As her character develops, she goes from introverted and scared to expressive and bold. Director John Crowley makes sure she is never more glamorous than most of the other girls to show that she is always about substance and not surface.

It’s not all about the Irish, for the sequence at her Italian love’s family table is as good as you’ll get for love, playfulness, and a wisecracking little eight-year-old brother you’ll want to see again.  

If the Academy should amazingly not nominate Ronan for best actress, I guarantee you’ll not forget her sweet and tough performance.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at