Updated On: December 07, 2023 by   Maha Yassin   Maha Yassin  

Caught in the overwhelming wave of countless films, uncertain where to cast your eye next? Believe us, we know all too well about this predicament. Amidst the endless ocean of titles, one stood out like a beacon —Brooklyn (2015).

This captivating tale spiritedly whisks you away to America in the 1950s, as seen through the eyes and experiences of an Irish immigrant. Let this post serve as your compass to understand why this charming period romance is well worth an evening’s investment – it offers far more than just another love story; it’s a poignant exploration of forging one’s path in unfamiliar terrain whilst battling feelings of homesickness and heartbreak.

Ready for a dive into yesteryears?

Key Takeaways

  • Brooklyn (2015) is a period romance film that follows the journey of an Irish immigrant, Eilis Lacey, as she adapts to life in 1950s Brooklyn.
  •  The film explores themes of homesickness, love, and the challenges immigrants face in a foreign land.
  •  Saoirse Ronan delivers a poignant performance as Eilis Lace, capturing the struggles and triumphs of her character’s journey.
  •  Brooklyn received critical acclaim and numerous awards for its heartfelt storytelling, authentic period setting, and strong performances.

Brooklyn: The Story of Irish Immigrant in the 1950s

Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis Lacey, an Irish immigrant and her journey to 1950s Brooklyn. The story follows her struggles to adapt to a new country and its customs while falling in love and ultimately facing a difficult decision when her past catches up to her.

An Irish Country Girl Moves to Brooklyn

In the early 1950s, Eilis Lacey lived in a small town in Ireland, facing limited prospects for her future. She works part-time at a local grocery store, enduring its demanding owner, Miss Kelly. Eilis’s sister, Rose, arranges for her to move to America for better opportunities. A kindly priest, Father Flood, sponsors her journey to Brooklyn, New York. The departure is bittersweet, as Eilis leaves behind her beloved sister and mother, stepping into an uncertain future.

Eilis’s Struggles to Adapt to Life in Brooklyn

Upon arrival in Brooklyn, Eilis moves into a boarding house for young women run by the sharp-tongued Mrs. Kehoe. She struggles with intense homesickness and cultural adjustments while assimilating into her new environment. Eilis begins working at a department store but feels out of place and lonely. Father Flood enrols her in bookkeeping classes to further her education and provide a better career path, offering a glimpse of hope and stability in her new life.

Eilis Finds A Love That Holds Her Steady

Eilis’s life turns positive when she meets Italian-American plumber Tony at a dance. They start dating, and Eilis experiences the thrill and joy of young love. Tony is kind, understanding, and deeply in love with her. As their relationship blossoms, Eilis’s confidence grows. She starts to feel more at home in Brooklyn, slowly overcoming her homesickness and embracing her new life with Tony.

Eilis is Called Back Home Amid Tragedy

Tragedy strikes when Eilis learns that her sister Rose has suddenly died. Devastated, Eilis decides to return to Ireland to mourn and support her mother. Before she leaves, Tony persuades her to marry him in a civil ceremony, fearing she might not return to America. Their secret marriage is a promise of her return, a commitment made amidst uncertainty and grief.

Eilis is Torn Between Two Worlds

Back in Ireland, Eilis is confronted with a starkly different reality. Her visit is extended due to her mourning. She is treated with a new level of respect and finds herself slipping back into her old life more easily than expected. During her stay, she meets Jim Farrell, a well-to-do bachelor who shows interest in her. Eilis finds herself torn between her life in Ireland, which suddenly seems full of potential, and her commitments in Brooklyn.

Eilis Makes The Hardest Decision

Eilis’s secret marriage to Tony in Brooklyn comes to light when her former boss in Ireland discovers the truth. This revelation forces Eilis to confront her feelings and make a choice. Realizing the depth of her love for Tony and the life she has started to build in Brooklyn, Eilis decides to return to New York. Her choice signifies her commitment to her new life and her love for Tony.

The film concludes with Eilis reuniting with Tony in Brooklyn. She has transformed from a shy, uncertain immigrant to a confident and independent woman. The final scenes show Eilis and Tony together, symbolizing her acceptance and embrace of her new life in Brooklyn, a life filled with love, opportunities, and the promise of the future.

The Cast and Crew of Brooklyn

Aside from the incredible plot and script, the success of Brooklyn is largely thanks to the ensemble of talented cast and crew who worked on it. The story’s authenticity comes from the Irish actors who put their heart into their characters to portray them purely.

John Crowley (Director)

Director John Crowley exhibits a masterful touch in bringing to life the nuanced and passionate tale of an Irish immigrant in 1950s America. Crowley’s direction is marked by a delicate balance between the intimate and the expansive, capturing both the personal journey of Eilis Lacey and the broader immigrant experience. His approach is subtle yet powerful, focusing on small details and expressions to convey deep emotional undercurrents.

Crowley’s use of visual storytelling, particularly in how he portrays the contrasting environments of Ireland and Brooklyn, adds depth to the narrative. Ireland’s lush, green landscapes are juxtaposed against the bustling, vibrant streets of Brooklyn, mirroring Eilis’s inner transformation.

Crowley’s skilful direction ensures that the film is a tale of love and self-discovery and a poignant exploration of the sense of belonging and identity. Under his guidance, Brooklyn became a visually stunning and emotionally resonant piece that resonates with anyone who has ever faced the challenges of a new beginning.

Nick Hornby (Scriptwriter)

The screenplay for Brooklyn was penned by the acclaimed British writer Nick Hornby, known for his talent in crafting deeply human and emotionally resonant stories. Hornby adapted the script from Colm Tóibín’s novel of the same name, skillfully translating the book’s rich narrative and complex emotions onto the screen.

His script is notable for its eloquent simplicity and keen insight into the immigrant experience, capturing the nuances of homesickness, love, and self-discovery with sensitivity and depth. His ability to blend humour, pathos, and romance within a historically grounded context showcases his versatility and expertise as a writer, contributing significantly to the film’s critical acclaim and emotional impact.

Saoirse Ronan as Eilis Lacey


Saoirse Ronan delivers a profoundly moving performance as Eilis, the young Irish immigrant at the heart of the story. Her portrayal is nuanced, capturing Eilis’s journey from a timid girl to a confident woman. Ronan’s ability to convey deep emotions with subtlety earned her widespread acclaim, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Emory Cohen as Tony Fiorello


Cohen plays Tony, Eilis’s Italian-American love interest. His portrayal of Tony is charming and sincere, providing a warm and endearing presence that perfectly complements Ronan’s Eilis. Cohen’s chemistry with Ronan is a highlight of the film, adding depth to their cross-cultural romance.

Domhnall Gleeson as Jim Farrell


Gleeson takes on the role of Jim, a potential love interest for Eilis, during her return to Ireland. His performance is understated yet impactful, capturing the character’s decency and the subtle tension he brings to Eilis’s life, pulling her between her past in Ireland and her future in America.

Bringing Brooklyn to Life (Production)

Brooklyn (2015) is a film directed by John Crowley and written by Nick Hornby. It is an adaptation of the novel by Colm Tóibín, set in 1950s Brooklyn during Irish immigration to America.

The casting and filming locations play a crucial role in capturing the historical context and charm of this romantic period drama. From adapting the novel into a cinematic masterpiece to making the casting choices and deciding where to film, Brooklyn’s production has shaped what it later became.

Adapting the Novel by Colm Tóibín

The adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel Brooklyn into a feature film is a testament to the art of transforming a deeply introspective and character-driven literary work into a visually and emotionally engaging cinematic experience.

The novel, known for its elegant prose and profound exploration of the immigrant experience, presented a unique challenge regarding adaptation. Hornby’s script focuses on the story’s emotional core – Eilis Lacey’s journey of self-discovery, love, and the struggle between her old and new worlds. The film adaptation amplifies these themes through its performances, direction, and cinematography, effectively capturing the spirit of Tóibín’s original work while offering a fresh and compelling interpretation for the screen.

The Historical Context of 1950s Brooklyn and Irish Immigration

The historical context of Brooklyn is set in the 1950s when Irish immigration to America was prominent. Many people from Ireland were seeking better opportunities and a new life in America during this period.

The film beautifully captures Irish immigrants’ challenges as they adjust to a new country and its customs. It explores themes of homesickness, the longing for their homeland, and the struggle between two countries.

The backdrop of Brooklyn in the 1950s adds depth to the story, showcasing iconic locations such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, and Park Slope. This historical context provides a rich background for Eilis’s journey as an Irish immigrant in New York City.

Casting and Filming Locations

Brooklyn, while set primarily in Brooklyn, New York, and a small town in Ireland, was filmed in various locations to capture the authentic feel of the 1950s era. Parts of the film were shot in Montreal, Canada, which doubled for Brooklyn due to its well-preserved, period-appropriate architecture.

The Irish scenes were authentically shot in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland, where the novel and author Colm Tóibín’s hometown are set. This blend of Canadian and Irish locations enabled the filmmakers to accurately evoke the distinct atmospheres of both Brooklyn and Ireland, crucial for immersing the audience in the film’s historical and emotional landscape.

Critical Reception of Brooklyn (2015)

The critical reception of Brooklyn was overwhelmingly positive, with critics praising its heartfelt story and strong performances. The film received numerous awards and nominations, solidifying its place as a beloved romantic period drama.

Critic’s Review

When Brooklyn was released in 2015, it received widespread critical acclaim. Many critics praised the film’s heartfelt storytelling, authentic period setting, and compelling performances.

Saoirse Ronan’s portrayal of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant torn between her homeland and her new life in America, was particularly lauded. The film’s exploration of themes such as homesickness, love, and immigrants’ challenges struck a chord with both audiences and reviewers alike.

Brooklyn was hailed as a beautifully made romantic period drama that captured the charm and complexities of 1950s Brooklyn. It garnered multiple awards and nominations, including three Academy Award nominations.

Awards and Nominations

Brooklyn received critical acclaim and was recognized with numerous awards and nominations. The film garnered three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Nick Hornby.

It also won several other major awards, such as the BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. The film’s authentic period setting, compelling storytelling, and strong performances resonated with audiences and critics alike, solidifying its place as a standout in the romantic period drama genre.

Audience Reception

The audience reception for Brooklyn was overwhelmingly positive. Movie fans, enthusiasts, and film buffs praised the storytelling, performances, and beautiful depiction of 1950s Brooklyn.

The film resonated with viewers who appreciated its portrayal of immigrant experiences and the challenges those torn between two countries faced. Saoirse Ronan’s compelling performance as Eilis Lace drew particular acclaim.

Impact of Brooklyn on Immigrant Stories

Brooklyn had a profound impact on the representation of Irish immigration and culture in film and its influence on the romantic period drama genre. The film’s success brought continued recognition to the talented cast and crew members and elevated their careers to new heights.

Representation of Irish Immigration and Culture

Brooklyn is a captivating and authentic portrayal of Irish immigration and culture in the 1950s. The film beautifully captures the experience of Eilis Lace, our protagonist, as she leaves her small Irish hometown to start a new life in America.

Through Eilis’ eyes, we witness the challenges faced by immigrants during this period – from homesickness and loneliness to cultural adjustment struggles. The film effectively showcases how Eilis finds solace within the tight-knit Irish community in Brooklyn. We see how traditions are preserved through social gatherings at local events like dances and church functions.

Moreover, Brooklyn sheds light on the prejudices faced by Irish immigrants as they navigate their way through a new country while preserving their identity.

Additionally, the film explores themes of love and longing for one’s homeland. Eilis is torn between two worlds when her past catches up with her. As viewers watch her journey unfold, they understand what it means to leave everything behind for a chance at a better life in America.

Influence on Romantic Period Dramas

Brooklyn has had a significant influence on romantic period dramas. The film beautifully captures the essence of a love story set in the 1950s and explores themes of longing, sacrifice, and personal growth.

Its success has paved the way for more movies in this genre to tell heartfelt tales with historical backdrops. Additionally, Brooklyn has showcased the talent of its cast and crew, leading to continued recognition and opportunities for them in the industry.

This film’s impact on romantic period dramas is undeniable, as it inspires filmmakers to create captivat t5ing stories that transport audiences to different eras while exploring timeless emotions of love and choice.

Brooklyn (2015) is a beautiful and heartfelt film about an Irish immigrant’s journey to 1950s Brooklyn. It explores themes of love, homesickness, and the difficult decisions one must make when torn between two countries. With its stunning performances and period setting, Brooklyn has left a lasting impact on audiences and continues to be recognized for its portrayal of Irish immigration and culture.

Are there any plot changes in “Brooklyn (2015)” from the novel?

Yes, there are some slight plot changes for the film adaptation regarding pace and character development.

What big choice does the main character have to make in “Brooklyn (2015)”?

The main character must choose between her old life in Ireland or a new one she builds herself in Brooklyn.

Did Brooklyn get any Oscar nominations?

Yes, Brooklyn earned three Academy Award nominations. One for Best Picture, one for Adapted Screenplay for Nick Hornby, and last but not least, a Best Actress nomination for Saoirse Ronan.

Is Brooklyn Based on a true story?

No, the film is not based on a true story. Brooklyn is based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, who was inspired by his childhood in Enniscorthy and the stories of immigrants he heard.

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