Just let me say if Saoirse Ronan does not get some sort of award for her performance of Eilis, then I will eat my hat and you can call me on that if she does’nt.
It would have been very easy in a less experienced actress’s hands that this movie may have been more than overly sweet than a coffee with more than one too many spoons of sugar in it. Thankfully Saoirse Ronan manages to walk this particular tightrope quite well.
This movie is based on Colin Toibin’s book of the same name which has been adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby.
We find Eilis working in a shop in small town Ireland for a lady called ‘ Nettles ‘ Kelly who earned this nickname from people in the town and never has a moniker been more accurate – she can cut you down to size with a word or a look. Eilis however decides to take up an offer of a job in New York which has been offered to her. She heads off to New York but at first finds the experience very hard and suffers terribly from homesickness and has trouble fitting into New York life.
She then crosses paths with a young Italian boy Tony played by Emory Cohen and suddenly it is like that scene in the Wizard Of Oz where everything changes from black and white to technicolor, she comes out of her shell and finds that she has found her place in the world. There is a great turn by Julie Walters as Mrs Kehoe as the woman who she stays with while in New York and mention should be made also of Jim Broadbent as a Brooklyn priest.
Just as things are slotting into place for Eilis in New York, she is yanked back to Ireland due to a family tragedy and on her return she finds that life back in Ireland is not quite as grim as she remembered and she comes across Jim Farrell played by Domhnall Gleeson while back in Ireland. It appears that both lives on either side of the Atlantic will work out well and she is torn and has a decision to make and what decision will she make ?
This story is not the Angela’s Ashes view of Ireland but a much more gentle, maybe even a misty eyed view of life in Ireland but despite yourself you will find that it is one that you will warm to and I think that this is very much down to Saoirse Ronan’s nuanced acting, I for one can’t wait to see what she does next as she has yet to put a foot wrong in her choices of roles and this movie is going to be a calling card for those who have yet to have come across her acting talent.
I can see that this movie is destined to be repeated more than once it moves to the small screen and I will probably watching it again and again every time it is shown.