Brooklyn is a period film, which perfectly encapsulates the experience of Irish immigrants in post WWII America. Unfortunately the realism that the film aims for is overshadowed by an obsession with America’s greatness.

The film is almost entirely realistic in both look and feel; it does a great job of guiding the audience back to both 1950’s Ireland and America and everything about it is entirely believable. The film has no real story (until its final act) and is amazing for this. Part of the realism that makes the film charming comes from following a character who doesn’t particularly have any goals and is simply there because she can be. This gives the audience a great chance to witness a refreshing vision of New York.

This character, a young irish girl Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is wonderful to watch and is written and performed in such a fantastically subtle way that it sets the pace and tone of the entire movie. Everything that’s good about the film comes from Eilis’s journey and the performance of Ronan is utterly astounding throughout.

Despite Ronan’s performance and some beautiful set design the film becomes rather annoying at points… mainly because of its seeming obsession with America and the American dream. The message of America being the land of greatness comes across far too strongly in the film (particularly at the start and the end) and it just kills the vibe. The most obvious example of this comes near the start of the film when Eilis first arrives to America; after passing immigration she is able to step through a door onto American soil. When she opens the door all she can see beyond is white light into which steps. It is all just too much.

The film also decides to gloss over several issues of the time in order to focus on Eilis’s life; and also which conveniently would mean portraying Brooklyn in a negative light; the most glaring of that of sexism. A key point of the film is that Eilis’s has a dream of being an accountant and thus starts studying bookkeeping. She is the only female on her course and all of her male classmates accept this without fail and some even ask her for help. I’m no historian but I struggled to believe that this would have happened, as far as I know males of that period where often scared of strong women and would most likely have made rude jokes and cajoled a woman on such a course. The films decision to gloss over something as important of this just feels a bit disrespectful to the woman who did suffer such in real life.

For every great thing about this film there is a fault. It is a wonderful film and I’m sure if I had a bigger obsession with America I would love it. Unfortunately the USA is not the country for me.

7/10