ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, this latest American fairy tale shows us why people like fairy tales.

1. This is a romantic drama that tells yet another New York immigrant story. It's biggest strength is it's sense of style and place.

2. It's set in 1952, and is about a lovely, innocent girl named Eilis (which is pronounced "Ay-lish"), who leaves her mother and sister behind in small-town Ireland and moves to Brooklyn to find a better life. She does find a better life, but she also feels the pull back to her homeland.

There. That's the whole plot.

3. This is set in the mythical America, where everything is clean, everybody is nice to each other, and if you follow your heart, everything turns out OK. There is only one scene that acknowledges that the American dream doesn't work for everyone, and the point of that scene is just to show what a big heart Eilis has.

4. Every story needs a conflict to stay interesting. The biggest conflict in this movie is watching Eilis decide where to live and who to marry. But even those conflicts are mostly of Eilis's making - it didn't have to be that difficult.

5. Like every mythical America story, there is a bit of "Cinderella" about this movie, but here, the evil stepsisters are the resentful young ladies that Eilis lives with in a boarding house. The fairy godmother is a Catholic priest.

6. The two main actors, Saorise Ronan (Saorise is pronounced "Sur-sha"), and Emory Cohen, are charismatic and have a good chemistry together. They are such a gosh-darn cute couple that you just have to root for them to get together.

7. The town in Ireland was actually more interesting to me than Brooklyn. There were some great characters there, including a bitch that runs a little shop, and Eilis's mother, who must deal with ever-increasing loss in her life.

8. I give the movie credit for not making it a completely fairy tale ending - it does show a few sacrifices that immigrants must make in order to have a better life.

9. There's not a lot to this movie; the pretty style and breezy story cover up the fact that it's pretty thin. When the biggest piece of suspense is wondering about a girl's marital status, it doesn't take a lot of concentration. But it doesn't suck, and is a good thing to watch if you wish you lived in a pretend America instead of the real one.

What did you think? Was it interesting or too silly? Add some points below!


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