The story is a fairly standard tale of innocence abroad. Saoirse Ronan is more than convincing as wide-eyed catholic girl Ellis Lacey, who has left behind her native Ireland in order to try her luck abroad.
Although we’re never entirely sure why she has chosen to abandon sister, mother and homeland, one assumes the young lady wishes to spread her wings thus avoiding a humdrum life in rural Ireland. Brooklyn beckons.
Ellis takes a job in a department store and accommodation at a female-only boarding house run by the indomitable Mrs Kehoe, played by Julie Walters who plays the role, well…like Julie Walters. Soon romance is in the air and the young heroine must make a choice.
As heart-warming as this film is, it does feel just a little...lightweight. Yes, it’s very nice to watch Ellis grow in confidence in her adopted country and it’s nice to see her doing so well, but it’s a story that hardly sets the pulse racing.
To put it bluntly, Brooklyn is the sort of film that wants to be loved just a little too much. It’s the type of film for a rainy Sunday afternoon to be watched with grandma and grandpa. The danger with such films though is that they can veer towards blandness.
Think made for TV tearjerker and you’ll be in the right territory here.
Inhabited by overwhelmingly good guys and gals, Brooklyn is a good old fashioned yarn, as wholesome as it is upbeat. But epic it most certainly isn’t. Had the script explored the darker side of the immigrant’s lot, then the result might well have been a more challenging and thus much more compelling creation.
To be honest, I'm not sure about Nick Hornby, but this film feels like it was written by Barbara Cartland and produced by Disney. It really is that inoffensive. Fine, if that type of thing floats your boat. But if not, you may very well find this pie to be all crust and no filling.
Having said that, if you like your films to have a liberal dash of Mills and Boon sentimentality and romance, this will leave you more than satisfied. Performances and in particularly period features steal the show and thus make for a cosy, comfy couple of hours.
Stick this on the DVD player on a Sunday afternoon and peace will certainly be upon your household. Now, where did I put my fishing rod?