Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Maeve McGrath, Jessica Pare, Domhnall Gleeson (Rated M – 111 min).
Nominated for an Academy Award at this year’s upcoming Oscars, the lovely Irish actress Saoirse Ronan gives a performance of a lifetime bringing everything together in a movie that will not only appeal to star struck lovers looking for appropriate Valentine’s Day viewing, but also to lovers of fine cinema being engulfed in a splendidly well told story.
Almost a veteran at such a young age with strong roles including The Lovely Bones (2009) and Atonement (2007), Ronan plays Irish immigrant Eilis during the 1950s leaving the beloved grassy cliffs of her home country to the bright lights of New York. With her close family left behind, anguish sets in until romance sets in with a local boy who is traditionally completely opposite to whom she is used to. His family become involved and the no fuss ways this streetwise fellow goes about his business is actually refreshing for her usual protective well being. She still remains extremely homesick, even with this welcome distraction.
Out of sight is not quite out of mind here as unfortunately the past catches up with Eilis and the question of de-emigration looms when a previous romance comes back to haunt her conscious. The dual narrative of two boys, two lives in two countries makes decisions tricky with the heart ruling in a finale which will send tears streaming down the face of those true romantics in the audience, including myself.
Period settings are so accurate making up much of the beautiful style throughout helping this film to be appealing on the eye. Written by Nick Hornby (Hugh Fidelity, About A Boy) from a celebrated novel from Colm Toibin, the details in the script presumably have been worked on endlessly to get the nuances of the time period perfect.
She may not win the Best Actress Oscar this year due to Brie Larson in an impressive little film called ‘Room’ but Saoirse Ronan still left me breathless. Previously seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Domhnall Gleeson is as usual unassumingly very effective as one half of the cross continent love interests while Canadian starlet Jessica Pare (Mad Men) walks onto the screen stealing the limelight in a minor role as Miss Fortini. Must see chick flick and one most guys should enjoy also.
Shane A. Bassett
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