In Brooklyn, Irish-American actress Saoirse Ronan portrays an Irish immigrant in 1950’s Brooklyn, New York.  And in so doing she gives the performance of her life, and possibly the best of the year.

Here is the official synopsis:

An Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) in 1950s New York falls for a tough Italian plumber (Emory Cohen), but faces temptation from another man (Domhnall Gleeson) when she returns to her homeland for a visit.

You might be familiar with Ronan from Atonement (she was just a child in that film) or Hanna, or even the panned adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s non-Twilight novel, The Host.  She is a very capable actress, but she really steps it up in Brooklyn, which will most certainly get her a nomination for Best Actress at the Oscars this year.

While Ronan’s performance is amazing, it should be mentioned that the rest of the acting in the film is also pitch perfect.  A unremarkable performance really can’t be found among this ensemble.  It was also fun to see how many actors from the Harry Potter franchise showed up.  I counted 3, but there could be more.

Besides Ronan’s portrayal, I would say that the best part is the musical score.  I found it both moving and memorable.  It definitely has an ‘Irish’ quality to it, and even has an absolutely breathtaking traditional Irish ballad performed about a third of the way through it.  If I were to choose the Best Score for this year’s Academy Awards, Brooklyn would probably be the recipient.  Its only competition, in my eyes, is Junkie XL’s score for Mad Max: Fury Road.

The scenery of both 1950’s Brooklyn and the Irish countryside both added immensely to the film’s quality.  The production value and cinematography are really top notch.

The film’s emotional core is very strong, although subtle.  The main theme of the film is finding out where you belong.  This is something that most people deal with, so it has a timeless quality to it.

Without delving into spoiler territory, I will say that the ending of the film didn’t resonate with me until after much contemplation.  I was so enamored with the supporting characters that I didn’t see what was unfolding for Ronan’s character.  I look forward to watching it again so that I can see the bigger picture with more clarity.

Brooklyn is among the year’s best films.  It has a quiet innocence about it that is very refreshing and endearing.  It feels like it’s in a genre all on its own, it was that unique.  I can’t recommend it enough.

4.5/5 Stars