Why do we go to the movies? Is it to escape our day-to-day realities and enter new places and times? Do we attend theaters to get lost in a story or simply to fill an afternoon? The reason I went to see Brooklyn at Stamford’s Avon Theater, a favorite locale of mine, was to share a nice movie with a friend. What I came away from the film with was so much more.
While Brooklyn, a historical period piece about a love between an Irish immigrant and an Italian man from Brooklyn, is not a sad film, I admittedly shed more than a few tears during the showing. Ellis Lacey, the female lead of the film leaves her home in rural Ireland for the big city, New York. Ellis leaves behind her beloved mother and sister, and sets sail for America.
Ellis arrives in New York and stays at a boarding house with several other young women. She gets a department store job and lives a relatively mundane life until she meets Tony, a young man from an Italian family of plumbers, at an Irish dance. Tony sheepishly admits to Ellis that he had gone to the dance because he likes Irish women.
Ellis and Tony fall into beautiful and charming relationship, doing all sorts of 1950s activities like visiting Coney Island and going to the beach in period-style bathing suits. All of this adorableness is then shattered when Ellis is forced to return home due to a death in the family. Upon her return, Ellis is greeted with love from her family and entire community in Ireland, and wonders why her life was not that good before she left and met the love of her life, Tony. Ultimately, Ellis must choose between her two lives: being with Tony in America or remaining in Ireland living her past again.
Brooklyn is a masterpiece of time period magic and old-fashioned love. It is a must-see for lovers of beautiful cinematography, charming characters and a rich plot line.