Brooklyn (The Movie)

Saoirse Ronan is that good in this movie.

I know, I know, “Brooklyn” came out last year, was trumped-up as being Oscar-worthy, might have been nominated and even won, but I’ve given up on the Academy Awards, what was once a ritual can now be skipped, whether African-Americans are nominated or not, because movies have jumped the shark, they’re two-dimensional features made for worldwide consumption whose grosses are trotted out as if the money made was equal to quality, but it’s not.

But, the overhype of “Brooklyn” did turn me off.

Like the inane “For Consideration” ads in the New York and Los Angeles “Times” for TV shows for Emmys. Yes, the Emmys are more significant than the Oscars, even if winning doesn’t yet carry the same gravitas, but these ads are a colossal waste of money by a tone-deaf industry propping up a newspaper business that needs to get a grip. Can we cut this self-congratulatory crap and just donate the money to charity, or make more indie films like “Brooklyn”?

It’s slow.

Yup kids, it doesn’t grip you from the outset. Beautifully shot, but I’m watching on an iPad. An Air2, so the image is sharp, but not only is it tiny, I’m not in a darkened room, I’m not taken away.


Eilis has no future in Ireland. There’s no work. So her sister petitions the church to make a place for her in America.

Eilis is played by Saoirse Ronan. And it’s only over time that her beauty is revealed. And this picture would benefit if she were less attractive and her boyfriend too, but that’s not what sells the fantasy. But I’m sitting there asking myself, why would such a pretty woman want to be involved with a plumber?

But that doesn’t undercut the movie.

She’s unsure and she’s homesick and… Too many people don’t cut the apron strings today. Used to be, when I grew up, in the good old days, when you’d walk ten miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways, your parents would send you off to summer camp, you’d go away to college, you’d have no cell phone, and you’d have to find your own way.

Doing your work and making friends along the way.

That’s the essence of life, building your network, which supports you. A skill that too few are good at, they get older and relationships fray and they’re all alone. That’s the epidemic ripping apart America, loneliness.

But two-thirds of the way through this movie, when Eilis returns to Ireland…

Tension. It’s what makes a film, and there’s tension here. Eilis has finally adjusted to New York, she’s finally happy, she’s happier than she’s ever been in her life.

But the old country people are not interested, they want to return her to what once was, for their own purposes.

Being independent is such a challenge. For all the hogwash about parents being their children’s best friends, the underbelly is disapproval and disappointment when they go their own way, which they do less. It’s your one and only life, can you make yourself happy?

It’s much more difficult to do than you think. The first step is the hardest, letting go of the rope, walking the wire without a net, so many are afraid. And those behind them don’t want them to make the journey. Your friends don’t want you to spread your wings and fly, they’re afraid you’re gonna leave them behind.

But the old people are small with their petty wants and desires and offenses, you’ve outgrown them, they don’t want to come along, they want to stay where they are.

And with a little perspective you can see the downsides of where you once were. Eilis is loving being back in Ireland until…

That’s why I moved to Los Angeles, for the anonymity. That’s what’s lacking in today’s society, when everybody can track you online you can’t breathe, when every movement is scrutinized, you become inhibited. And it’s not only the rank and file, but the famous too. That woman in Fifth Harmony being shamed on Twitter, Justin Bieber being hated on Instagram. You’re just living your life…

Or maybe you’re not, maybe you’re bragging.

But the whole world has turned into high school, and that sucks.

The truth is life is about the interior. We focus on the exterior, what we wear, what we drive, our job, all the trappings. But inner desires, wants, angst, that’s what we depend upon art to reveal, because oftentimes we’re too uptight to talk about it, if we can even find words. That’s what’s wrong with the comic book movies, they may have plot, but there’s no truth, and we’re looking for truth. And when Eilis goes back to Ireland and now finds it appealing…

It’s a conundrum. Is every situation in life fungible? Is there one true soul mate, one way of living your life that will make you happy, or are their multiple roads to the destination? And when you’re young, it’s all brand new, you keep asking the questions. And when you’re old, you’re too set in your ways to change, so you live through art, your hopes and dreams are embodied therein.

When Eilis is back in Ireland and is torn between two lovers…

You’ll ache, you’ll identify, you’ll have no idea how it’s going to turn out. Do you embrace the tried and true, family and location, or do you strike out on your own for something better and stay there?

I don’t know.

But I do know this question is expertly asked in “Brooklyn.”

It’s on HBO Go. I suggest firing it up late at night, when it’s only you and your brain rattling around the room. You’ll watch it and you’ll see your life.

Because all of our lives are the same, all the questions similar, we’re all struggling, we’re all presented with choices.

And you’ve got to make ’em.

However hard it might be to come to a decision.

But one thing’s for sure, do what’s right in your heart.

It may not work out, but you’ll have fewer regrets.

And that’s what life is about, not victories, but avoiding regrets. You want to feel that you played the game to your fullest, it’s not about trophies and awards, but experiences and joy, feeling fully alive.

I felt fully alive watching “Brooklyn.”

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