Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn (2015)

I absolutely loved Brooklyn. Wow! Such a quiet, simple yet beautiful and heartbreaking film. It doesn’t have the intensity and flashiness of its fellow best picture nominees, but at the moment, I am seriously considering giving it my vote for best picture. The only aspect that I didn’t get the immense love for was Emory Cohen’s performance as Tony – he gave a sweet, warm and charming performance but I didn’t think it was that amazing. Many people are saying he was robbed of a nomination, but he didn’t leave a strong enough impression in my mind. That being said, I would have nominated him over Mark Ruffalo I guess.

Brooklyn may be a simple film, but it definitely benefited from the sheer brilliance of Saoirse Ronan’s central leading performance as Eilis. While I have to admit that I am not familiar with Ronan’s body of work, she has always struck me in her interviews as a very mature and intelligent actress who is wiser than her years. Whenever I listen to her talk, she always comes across as articulate and sensible, even more so than some older actresses. And as such, despite being 2 years younger than me (!!!), she proved herself more than capable in this detailed, multi-faceted portrayal of her character.

If I were to use one word to describe Ronan’s work, it would be beautiful. Her performance here is like a good, old-fashioned novel that is moving and heartbreaking at the same time. She has this glowing presence and warmth throughout the whole film, making Eilis a character you care deeply for. She takes you along with her through her journey, making you feel her deep homesickness and loneliness in the beginning, her devastation after a tragedy at home, and then her gradual regaining of  confidence after meeting Tony. It is just wonderful to watch how Ronan handles the character’s changes with so much ease and naturalism.

I was pretty surprised that people thought the second half of the performance wasn’t as good, when Eilis returns home for a while. I thought Ronan perfectly handled the inner conflict of Eilis, and I totally understood why she felt conflicted about whether she should stay or go back to work in Brooklyn. I especially loved her sudden realisation at how much her life had changed and the vast amount of opportunities that were suddenly available to her. It was all well portrayed by Ronan, and I think it added an interesting layer to her performance.

A wonderful way to end an already strong best actress lineup. 5/5.

 

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