Brooklyn Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Hugh Gormley
  • Director: John Crowley
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13                                 
  • Studio: 20TH CENTURY FOX
  • Release Date: March 15, 2016
  • Run Time: 105 minutes


            I love films in the romance genre, though it often takes a willingness to forgive the predictable contrivances of the genre. Often the goal only appears to be satiating the audience’s desired outcome, which leads to cheesy and unbelievable results involving beautiful actors, manipulated emotions through sentimental soundtracks. Rarely is there a romance film containing characters resembling real people, with actual choices to make and difficult outcomes because of these choices. Brooklyn is one of these rare films, demanding more from its audience while also paying off with far more intelligent rewards due to the excellence in filmmaking. In other words, Brooklyn doesn’t sacrifice logic and character development for the sake of its romantic moments, and this makes them feel earned.


             Based on the best-selling novel by Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn was expertly adapted by Nick Hornby (An Education, Wild), a novelist once known for presenting a humorous male perspective (Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, About a Boy) that has inexplicably switched to the female perspective and screenplay adaptations in recent years. This mostly unsentimental examination of love and immigration is thoughtful where most romances are emotional, subdued where it could easily have slipped into melodramatic. Paired with perfect casting, expert direction and a classic old school Hollywood cinematography, Hornby’s screenplay elevates a simple story into something special.


            When the idea for this film adaptation first arose, Saoirse Ronan was too young to play the part, but a long journey into production allowed her time to age. This is extremely significant, as the role of Eilis Lacey is crucial to every aspect of the film’s success. Having received 51 award nominations for her performance, it seems that Ronan was indeed worth the wait, but the casting of each supporting role in the film is just as expertly handled by Fiona Weir. Brooklyn is yet another example why casting directors deserve a place amongst the award accommodations.


            The film follows Eilis’ journey from her home in Ireland to Brooklyn in the 1950s in search of work and opportunity. While she first struggles to adjust to the new lifestyle, her experience of America drastically changes when she meets a young Italian man named Tony (Emory Cohen) at an Irish dance. This relationship develops until Eilis takes a sudden trip back home to Ireland. It is intended to be temporary, and she promises to return to Tony, but new relationships and opportunities in Ireland make this decision more difficult. Eilis must find a way to choose her home from the new life she has made for herself in America or the familiar one in her home country.


            The Blu-ray release comes with a Digital HD copy of the film, as well as a handful of special features. The extras are primarily packed with promotional featurettes, no doubt created in the effort to promote the film during award season. Thankfully, however, there is also a director’s commentary featuring John Crowley, who also provides optional commentary over a handful of deleted and extended scenes included. A production gallery is also included.   


    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10

    Historical Significance:  8.5/10

    Special Features: 7/10

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