We’re all aware of the phrase TLDNR (Too Long, Did Not Read) for posts on the Internet. This is a segment called TLDNW (Too Long, Did Not Watch). It’s for people that just don’t have time to go to the movies. Now, I work pretty hard every year to see the entire list of films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. You probably won’t get to all of them, because I assume you have a social life. Luckily for you, it is my goal in the following weeks to post reviews of the 2016 Oscar-nominated movies so that you can be caught up before the big night.
However, I know even reading a whole review is time-consuming and not for everyone. Many people just look at the star rating and don’t bother with the rest of the review. Even now you’re probably bored of this introduction.
So I’ll make it short and sweet. For every movie I review, I’ll include three sections: 1) A 1-word review, because frankly most people are lazy. 2) A 20-word review so you have things to say about the film when your friends ask if you saw it. 3) An in-depth 500-word review.
TLDNW: 1 Word
TLDNW: 20 Words
Beautiful costumes. Beautiful Irish accents. An adorable Italian boy. Saoirse “SoareieiouAndSometimesY” Ronan. A beautiful, if predictable, love story. Julie Fucking Walters.
(Editor’s Note: Please pronounce “Julie Fucking Walters” as though you were comedian Billy Eichner at the beginning of the following video).
TLDNW: 500 Words
Three out of Four Stars
Brooklyn has the misfortune of being one of many period piece films this year, such that its quiet tenderness gets lost in the shuffle. Brooklyn is the story of an Irish girl (Saoirse Ronan) who moves to Brooklyn in the 50’s, as many young Irish people were doing in the wake of World War Two due to lack of opportunities at home.
In summary: She meets an Italian guy and they hit it off. Some tragic events send her home to Ireland and suddenly the place she once hated now becomes a haven of stability and marriage proposals. She must make a choice. The film hinges on this choice. And if you think I’m gonna tell you what she chooses – YOU’RE DEAD WRONG.
The film itself is nothing spectacular. The story is okay and I’m sure it’s a fine adaption from the novel. The acting is great, and Ronan earned a best-actress nomination. It’s unfortunate that Brooklyn will be lumped together with other period pieces from this year and its few shining gems will be lost amongst the clutter. With Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Revenant, and The Danish Girl getting most of the attention, Brooklyn seems awash in a sea of brilliant costumes and fake accents.
Where Brooklyn separates itself is in its love story. It’s not an uncommon love story. Hell, pick up literally any RomCom and see two seemingly unmatchable people fall in love over the course of the movie. Something about Brooklyn, however, feels more palpable. Perhaps it’s the deeply natural dialogue that pervades the film. I’m certain this is due to the excellent writing in the novel by Colm Toibin. Certainly much of the tenderness can be drawn from the excellent work of Ronan and, more under-appreciated, her love interest Tony, as affectionately played by Emory Cohen.
There are two scenes in the film in which the warm love story shines through brilliantly. The first is a scene in which Tony confesses that he was only at an Irish dance because he really likes Irish girls. The scene could have easily been played up as a joke. The dialogue is such that a punch-line approach could have been taken. Instead, Cohen acts ashamed. His characterization is brilliant and separates this movie from any other romance story of the year.
The other scene that highlights the absolute love in this film is a boot-knocker. You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about that Irish-Italian swirl. Both characters, as you can imagine, are fairly devout Catholics. Sex up to this point in the film hasn’t really been on the table. Circumstances, which I will not go into, lead to the pair making love – and I mean making love. Unlike some gaudy sex scene in films like The Wolf of Wall Street or overwrought and eye-rolling (and not the hot kind) like in Carol, the lovemaking scene in Brooklyn encapsulates the fact that the love in this film feels real. It feels like love feels. It’s weird, and it’s tough, and it’s adorable, and it’s beautiful. The audience is totally enraptured in the moment and the actors disappear. I watched the actors transform into a real people, the people they were portraying. They did something few on-screen couples can do – they convinced me they were in love. This is perhaps the saving grace of Brooklyn and its quietness provides a slight glimmer in a sandstorm (cue Darude) of sometimes-overwrought period pieces.
Click here to check out the rest of Spencer’s TLDNW reviews.