Based on the 2009 novel by Irish author Colm Tóibín (and adapted by screenwriter Nick Hornby), "Brooklyn" is a lovely romantic period drama that follows shy country girl Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) as she relocates from her home in Enniscorthy, Ireland, to America in the early 1950's. Eilis' journey is arranged by her older sister, Rose (Fiona Glascott), who recognizes the limited prospects that await her sibling if she remains in their provincial town.
Battling against a profound sense of homesickness and loneliness, Eilis manages to make a life for herself, settling in a Brooklyn boardinghouse run by a sharp-tongued landlady (Julie Walters), getting a job at a posh department store, and being romanced by a charming Italian-American plumber (Emory Cohen).
But when fate intervenes and tragic circumstances call for her to return to Ireland, where she's pursued by an eligible suitor (Domhnall Gleeson), she finds herself caught between her new life and the one she once knew.
Unabashedly sentimental and achingly sincere, "Brooklyn" presents an immigrant experience shot through with a rosy, nostalgic glow. During this time of heightened, antagonistic rhetoric against immigrants, it's refreshing to see America once again presented as the land of opportunity.
Director John Crowley, along with immaculate work by production designer François Séguin and costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux, nail the period details and Hornby's nimble script invests it all with a deeply felt emotion.
Since earning an Oscar nomination at 13 for her role in "Atonement," Saoirse Ronan has blossomed into a remarkably assured young actress, and she delivers an effortlessly empathetic performance, even without the benefit of the interior monologue provided by the novel.
Exploring what "home" truly means and the way it can shift and change throughout our lives, "Brooklyn" is Eilis' coming-of-age story; as we follow her journey, we see the subtle changes as the timid girl grows into a confidant young woman. Opening just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, it's hard to imagine anyone not being won over by the film's big-hearted spirit, making "Brooklyn" a solid choice for a post-dinner family trip to the movies.