Brooklyn

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Brooklyn Movie Poster Image
Poignant immigration drama is romantic, thought-provoking.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 111 minutes
 Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 13 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Promotes the idea of the United States as a land of opportunity and promise -- and that people in the United States have confidence and optimism. Enforces the idea that while your birthplace will always have a pull on you, the place where you make meaningful connections, fall in love, and put down roots is where you'll eventually feel most at home. Encourages young people to work hard to fulfill their dreams.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eilis' story is one of growing confidence, courage, and independence. She goes from passive and obedient to making her own way and figuring out what she wants for her life, not just what's expected of her. She's a kind and loving sister and daughter, but she's also true to herself and to the person she loves. Tony is a gentleman who supports and encourages Eilis and wants a better life for them.

Violence

Disturbing scene of a woman's dead body being discovered by her mother.

Sex

Flirting, dancing, a few kisses, and one sex scene that's mostly clothed and quick (though very meaningful for both participants); in addition to kissing and shedding of some clothing, there's moaning and movement. A character skirts the line of cheating but never completely crosses it.

Language

In a heavy Irish accent, a couple of uses of "f--k." Also "bitch," "bastard," "s--t," "idiot," and "dear God" (as a mild exclamation).

Consumerism

Guinness beer, Coca-Cola (in historical context).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Of-age young adults drink at dinner/to celebrate a job well done. Minor character smokes a pipe.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Brooklyn is a poignant period drama about Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young woman who immigrates to New York from Ireland in the early 1950s. An adaptation of Col Toibin's 2009 novel, the movie features infrequent strong language (a couple uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t" and "bitch") and quite a bit of romance, including several kisses and a quick first-time sex scene between a committed young couple (nothing graphic, but it includes some moaning and movements). There's one disturbing moment when a dead body is shown; afterward, a family grieves. Another scene depicts the unpleasant effects of seasickness in a vivid manner. This is an ideal film for teens and parents to see together and to discuss the historical and relevant current themes about family, immigration, independence, and what makes a place feel like home.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bythrowmeapeanut November 27, 2015

Terrific film

Just returned from seeing this with my 13 year old daughter. We both loved it. This a beautiful movie that is, in many ways, unlike any other film currently in... Continue reading
Adult Written bycdruiz April 25, 2016

Fine for the whole family as long as you can hit Chapter Next.

All the reviews are spot on. The movie is fine for the whole family, with the following two caveats: 1) Younger children below the age of reason may get bor... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTeenageCritic100 November 29, 2015

Excellent period drama is suitable for teens.

After viewing Brooklyn, I was instantly in love. The whole time I was glued to the screen. I've read the great book, and thought the movie was better. The... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDogFood November 11, 2015

Boring Brooklyn

Some adults may like it but it's too boring to recommend for anyone else. There is some language (like s--t ) and a sex scene between the two main charecte... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Colm Toibin's award-winning 2009 novel, BROOKLYN follows young Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), an Irish girl who moves from County Wexford to New York in 1952. There are no worthwhile jobs for Eilis in her hometown of Enniscorthy, so her older sister, Rose (Fiona Glascott), arranges for a Brooklyn priest (Jim Broadbent) to sponsor Eilis' immigration. Upon arrival, Eilis lives in a boarding house run by Ms. Kehoe (Julie Walters) with several other single women and works as a shopgirl at a Brooklyn department store. Lonely and sad, Eilis' prospects change when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), a handsome Italian-American plumber who happens to like Irish girls. He sweetly pursues Eilis, who starts taking accounting classes at night after working all day. Their blossoming relationship brings Eilis out of her shell, but when a tragedy unexpectedly takes her back to Ireland, she feels divided between the pull of her ancestral home and the promise of her new one.

Is it any good?

Ronan is a radiant revelation in this beautifully acted, timeless story about leaving everything you know behind to find your way in a new world. Director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby focus the adaptation on Eilis' development from shy and lonely to smitten and surprisingly resourceful. Surrounded by a talented supporting ensemble, Ronan shines as she navigates the streets of 1950s Brooklyn (although it's really Montreal). Broadbent is genial as Eilis' priest and connection to home, and Walters is hilarious as Eilis' nosey but well-meaning landlady, who makes sure to keep all her girls (including Eve Macklin and Arrow star Emily Bett Rickards) in check.

The real sparks are due to Ronan's chemistry with newcomer Cohen (The Place Beyond the Pines), whose Tony looks like a cleaner-cut young Marlon Brando. Tony is from a blue-collar Italian family that normally doesn't socialize with the Irish, but the moment he spots Eilis at a dance, he's a goner. Their romance is slow-burning, sweet, and full of delightful moments, like when Eilis practices eating spaghetti before having her first meal at Tony's family's apartment, or how he faithfully waits for her after every night class to walk her back home. When a tragedy requires Eilis to return to Ireland, it's clear she feels the pull of home. She's no longer a mousey little sister but full of American optimism, confidence, and romance -- which makes attractive bachelor Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) notice. Caught between two men and two lives, Eilis must choose between the comfort of the past and the uncertainty of the future. Home isn't where you live, but where your heart belongs -- something Crowley portrays in a way that will make you cry bittersweet tears.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Brooklyn portrays the plight of immigrants. How is this depiction different than other films about immigrants? What challenges did Eilis face? How are those challenges different than those of modern immigrants?

  • The movie explores issues of ethnicity and gender in the 1950s. How does being Irish distinguish Eilis from her American housemates -- and her Italian boyfriend?

  • What roles do sex and love play in the story -- and in the characters' lives? Does one necessitate the other? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How does Eilis demonstrate courage in Brooklyn? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

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