The best was certainly saved for last - here I review the beautiful Brooklyn (Crowley) as presented by the BFI London Film Festival 2015 on Tuesday 13th October.
Brooklyn (Crowley, 2015)
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Zegen, Julie Walters
Country: Ireland, UK, Canada
Runtime: 111 mins
I guess you can say that this film was the one that I was least excited about seeing at this year's London Film Festival, mushy romance is not really my thing and the immigrant in New York narrative has been done to death. But how wrong I was! This was actually my favourite out of the three that I saw at the festival and I would highly recommend that you go and see it when it comes out later next month.
Again the ticket collection was fuss free, and the friendly staff allowed an easy refund for my adult ticket, accidently purchased in place of a student one. This time we arrived a little later and needed to queue out of the door and into Leicester Square. This was the most packed of the three galas that we attended (obviously they knew something that I didn't!) and so the screen staff seemed a little more stressed than previous occassions, but still professional none-the-less.
Once everyone was seated it went straight into the film with no bonus features or special appearances.
Set in the 1950s, Brooklyn follows Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) as she leaves the mundane saftey and routine of her life in small town Ireland for a fresh start in the Big Apple. A story that we all know, however the character development is so rich, the performances so strong and the writing so good that it will keep you entranced throughout.
Ronan, a relative newcomer who has been working her socks off since the mid 2000s appearing in films such as Atonement (Wright, 2007), The Lovely Bones (Jackson, 2009) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (Anderson, 2014), delivers incredibly in the lead role. Her screen presence is just mesmerising as she portrays a shy and awkward young woman who slowly finds her confidence in the big city.
In fact everyone is amazingly well cast and really make the characters their own; from screen veteran Julie Walters giving a hilarious yet heartfelt performance as prim and proper boardinghouse keeper Ms. Kehoe, to the mandatory appearance (in anything produced in anyway in the British Isles) of the very talented Jim Broadbent as kindly priest, Father Flood.
Emory Cohen is also really fun as Tony, a charming Italian-American with a penchant for Irish girls, and gives a really solid and emotive performance.
This film keeps you enthralled throughout and does so well to present us with the hard facts of what the Irish immigrant experience must have been like at this moment in history; the hope and dreams coupled with the reality of feeling misplaced and a longing home.
Without revealling too much about the plot, let's say that it comes to pass that Eilis must learn to take control of her own destiny in order to shape her future; she is presented with two major viable choices and we are kept guessing as to which will be the final outcome.
Highly recommended to catch at the cinema - the best film of the festival for me! Ronan and director John Crowley are certainly ones to follow.
I would definitely recommend the festival itself too, the staff and organisers did a great job, and it's a great chance to catch some interesting independent movies before they hit the cinema - make sure you get yourself along to the event in 2016 and grab tickets as soon as they go on sale as they sell out fast!