We all know someone who had to leave the country he/she loved in search of better life. We all also know someone who had his/her heart broken in thousand pieces. We are fragile. Our insides can easily break down. We hurt and torment each others as we had forgotten that there is no another life to live. And on the other hand – we are passionate, loving and faithful. Stronger than plants and animals because we are the ones able to raise up. We can lose everything and stay alive. ‘Brooklyn’ says the story of ordinary people with ordinary hearts.
Times are tough for immigrants. Whole Europe is facing ‘a refugee crisis’ and ridiculous, frightening things are happening or are about to happen. In the same time John Crowley proposes a movie in which he presents immigrants world as a kind of wonderland – a marvellous reality of people that work hard and love intensely and strongly. When radical nationalists are screaming loudly about their crazy desires of ethnic purity, in Crowley’s movie we meet Irish girl and Italian boy falling in innocent, you can say ‘playground’, love above borders. One could say that in ‘Brooklyn’ we are dealing with a pretty cheesy, boring and predictable fairy tale. It would be totally right. But one would lie by saying that we do not need simple, beautiful stories that give us illusions of possible happy ends and make us believe in truth, beauty, and goodness. Crowley knows that the world is ugly and dirty enough without his artistic help.
A young Irish immigrant Ellis Lacey (absolutely stunning in playing a role of lonely, lost, shy girl in the strange huge city Saoirse Ronan) lands in 1950s Brooklyn. She works in the exclusive store and tries really hard to not cry. It looks like she will stay sad forever and then she meets a boy (cute, charming Emory Cohen) who becomes the best medicament for her broken, missing home heart she could ever imagine. New life begins. Life composed of fancy clothes, fluttering smiles and romantic walks. Unfortunately there is no such a thing as a pure happiness. Ellis past catches up with her and she has to choose between two (both very tempting) scenarios. One is written by things she was missing – the restrained beauty of Ireland, the other one – by people and opportunities she’s just started to enjoy and love. Crowley’s movie seems to be an universal story of dilemmas that make us human beings. You do not have to be an immigrant to understand the internal conflict of two loves.
What saves ‘Brooklyn’ from being a typical melodrama is a simple perfection of blurred images, that could be as well paintings. What is more – tears and dramatic turns of the action are not unlimited. It means that Crowley is a master of balance. He is also a very talented story-teller. The most magical, touching moments of his movie are hidden in little things. For example – in writing letters. In ‘Brooklyn’ you do not read letters to remember them, but to read them again. The collection of letters seems to be a secret library of both – half forgotten and half immortal dreams. It gives you a chance to return (even if it happens only in one’s memory or imagination).
Last but not least – picture of love. Crowley presents love that one can experience only one. It’s pure, but confusing; absolutely great, but also demanding. Lovers (especially Italian boy – Tony) are helpless, maybe even pathetic. Their sky explodes. The explosion is both – pink and dangerous. It feels like eating ice cream for the first time or like the first candy you bought with the pennies from the broken piggy bank. ‘Brooklyn’ is nothing, but a fairy tale. But – as I’ve said before – we all need some magic.