*the first of six very short reviews, in an attempt to catch up on 2015 film journalism before the 2016 movie season really kicks in*
Promotional material may have led you to believe that the quaint indie darling Brooklyn was about a frivolous young woman, caught between the passions of two young men: one in her new city of Brooklyn, one back home in her small town in Ireland.
Fortunately, Brooklyn doesn't retread this tired narrative. It operates on a higher, more subtly feminist level simply by excelling at being itself: a movie full of vibrant color, both in a pleasing visual sense and in fully painting the woman at its center.
Between Saoirse Ronan's endlessly piercing eyes, the splendidly natural character growth of Eilis, and the gorgeous cinematography capturing the landscapes of Ireland and cityscape of New York, Brooklyn is a beautiful movie at every turn. Novelist/screenwriter Nick Hornby is no stranger to using such beauty to a character's advantage: he wrote last year's Wild, which dealt with a woman's transition from one phase of life to the next. This kind of development thrives at the forefront of Brooklyn.
Saoirse Ronan brings such a transition to life with a performance that is believably delicate or fierce when need be. Emory Cohen and personal favorite Domhnall Gleeson display promising talent as well- even if the film's main motif is muddled a bit when the two men are both vying for Eilis' reciprocated love.
At every other point, Brooklyn is a delightfully elegant film that anyone who has ever changed can relate to.