Based on the novel by Colm Tóibín and directed by theater veteran John Crowley, Brooklyn's an understated study of a young Irish woman, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan). It's a keyhole portrait of her displacement and resilience as she finds herself caught between her ancestral home in Ireland and 1950s New York, where she's found professional success and fallen in love with a cute Italian plumber (Emory Cohen <3). Brooklyn's been marketed as a love triangle, but luckily, it isn't. Eilis's choice is pretty clear from the outset, and if Brooklyn fits into any thematic category, it's as a filmed bildungsroman, as Eilis quietly, however reluctantly, learns and masters her new surroundings and determines who she is and what she values, and how she wants to spend her adult life.

It's refreshing to see this largely internal, cerebral journey of an introverted young woman play out onscreen, and Nick Hornby's screenplay, never afraid of sentimentality, keeps such a contained narrative from feeling too cold or distant. That's right: Brooklyn is good because it's so wholesome, so emotive, so free of irony, without qualifiers, and your grandma will probably like it a lot. But its full-scale commitment to its own emotional core sets it apart from films less comfortable with feelings. It'll leave you in a good mood, and sometimes, that's exactly what's needed.

Read Megan Burbank's full review by Megan Burbank
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John Crowley
Domhnall Gleeson, Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen