by Sandra Kraisirideja
Brooklyn recalls a time that feels foreign in this always-connected world where social media and technology help bring people together.
I grew up in the ’70s and the only time I could call my cousin, who lived a mere two hours away in the same state, was on Sundays when long distance phone calls were less expensive. Even then we could only talk on the phone for a few minutes. At the end of the call we would count to three before hanging up because we just couldn’t bare to say goodbye.
I can still recall the feeling of excitement and joy when I heard my cousin’s voice at the other end of the line and how there was never enough time to share all of our news. That joy was always replaced by sadness and longing when the time to hang up came much too soon.
Even though my cousin lived only two hours away, our limited contact made the distance feel much farther. In my childhood it was still possible to miss a person and a place in a way that is disappearing from this world.
In contrast, my two children are growing up in a world where there are unlimited minutes of talk time and Skype to help them stay connected to family around the world. I imagine there will still be excitement and sadness at the beginning and end of these conversations, but it will be different.
If you know you can pick up the phone, boot up a video chat, or text a person at a moment’s notice it diminishes your ability to miss that person. Before seeing Brooklyn I hadn’t really thought about the emotions that technology and social media are wiping away from the experience of growing up.
I love being able to video chat with friends and family but the movie made me realize what we’re losing by being able to connect so easily.
Sadness, longing and feeling homesick are an important part of growing up and becoming an adult.
Certainly these feelings are at the emotional core of Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley from a script by Nick Hornby who adapted the book by Colm Toibin.
Star Saoirse Ronan does a fantastic job at conveying the heartbreak and loneliness felt by her character, Ellis Lacey, who leaves Ireland to start a new life in America without any family or friends nearby. She truly has to start over.
After Ellis meets Tony, played by a very sweet and charming Emory Cohen, she starts to feel happy again. Their courtship offers many of the film’s lighter moments. The scenes with Tony’s younger brother, played by James DiGiacomo, are especially memorable.
Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Domhall Gleeson round out the capable supporting cast.
When an unexpected tragedy calls her back to Ireland, Ellis has new opportunities open up to her that her nonexistent when she left, causing her to question whether or not she should return to America.
Brooklyn captures the 1950s time period that it’s set in both physically and emotionally. Production designer Francois Seguin and costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux do a beautiful job recreating Brooklyn in the ’50s. The clothing, in particular, is refined and elegant.
Millennials may find it hard to connect to Ellis’ story but it does show that life could still be thrilling without technology and that sadness is a part of life. This is a wonderful multi-generational movie for the holidays. Take the grandparents to this one and find out if they shared a similar experience to Ellis.