Author Topic: Brooklyn  (Read 6182 times)

philip918

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Brooklyn
« on: February 20, 2016, 10:10:33 PM »
The kind of "too nice" backlash has kind of baffled me on Brooklyn. I think it is such a pleasant film that it tricks some into thinking it doesn't have much to say. They talked it on Slate Culture and one of them expressed that either romantic possibility seemed good, which is true but misses the reason she makes the choice she does, which says something fundamental about the possibilities of immigration for opportunity.

This review really nails my feelings about Brooklyn: http://www.avclub.com/article/brooklyn-loses-its-way-when-it-leaves-borough-232196

Particularly this:

"Summoned to a meeting with her former boss “Nettles” Kelly—a nasty shopkeeper played with brittle finesse by Brid Brennan—Eilis is told the jig is up. Ms. Kelly has heard through the grapevine that she got married back in New York, and threatens to expose her. In a flash, Eilis gets self-righteous, and reads the old biddy the riot act for being nosy and meddling in the affairs of others. Drawing herself up to leave, Eilis snarls that it’s exactly this sort of venomous small-town mentality that made her want to leave in the first place.

Ronan plays this outburst beautifully, but the scene is a sham. It transfers all of the emotional and ethical responsibility from Eilis—who is hurting several people at once with her behavior—to Miss Kelly, as if the real transgression here is backbiting gossip. But Miss Kelly, whatever her motivations, is telling the truth; Eilis, meanwhile, has lied to the people who love her most, and has no right to feel affronted by the facts. The rich and troubling intricacies of the situation get ground down by the filmmakers, who let Eilis claim the moral high ground and flee scot-free."
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Junior

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2016, 10:49:54 PM »
I had some problems with that article. The point of the Ireland section was to point out the pressures which she faced from her home, the people you'd think should have her best interests at heart. At the beginning we get only a vague idea of why she's leaving, but that extended section makes it quite clear that it isn't a good environment for her. In this way, it goes quite against what I expected it to do. And yet, she finds herself struggling to leave it, to get out from under these pressures because it is also quite easy to live there. Everything is planned out. It would involve very little difficulty. But we've seen what she has with her BF back in the US, and we know what she'd be missing out on. So it's a pretty compelling section, I think. Mrs. Nettles is a bit on the nose, but she's the necessary catalyst to get Ellis back to where she should be.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 01:26:06 AM »
I agree with the AV Club article when it blames to movie for letting Eilis off the hook. She essentially lies to everyone and that is never addressed. She suffers no consequences, which I am okay with, but there also seems to be no downfall. We never see Gleeson be sad or the indignation of any of her friends. Eilis herself leaves Ireland without so much as an afterthought apparently, with the one exception of the confrontation with her mother. The way she goes back to Tony is too easy, like nothing happened. Either she felt nothing for Jim, which to me makes the whole arc pointless, or she did but has a supernatural ability to get over people. And am I the only one who never felt she was actually in love with her husband ?
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philip918

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 11:22:16 AM »
And am I the only one who never felt she was actually in love with her husband ?

Nope. I felt like she was just getting swept along by his emotions and romantic manipulations. She definitely didn't seem excited when he proposed to her. I thought this is what the film was going for, thus making an even harder choice for her when she returned to Ireland and meets Jim, but then she goes back to the US and her husband quite easily and that's that.

The more I think about her, the stranger her character seems to me.
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verbALs

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 11:53:48 AM »
I wrote something about the discussion earlier but found it spoilery so this must be the place.

In the sense of real life it's unusual for there to be people actively looking to ruin your life as there are in so many movies. The worst you get is someone who doesn't have your best interests at heart who you probs shouldn't rely on. So the busy body in the shop being the embodiment of antagonistic evil in the film strikes of realism. Also Ronan suffers from indecisiveness more than anything else and is somewhat pushed into making up her mind by the busy body. Very naturalistic again.

I feel the nature of the film is low key niceness and that's the world most people live in for a heavy percentage of their lives. It's a nice piece of writing by Hornby. My only problem with DH earlier review is I can't remember Ronans performance being mentioned and this film is delightful for her work here especially like I say because she is working with nice material at a low level of drama (sorry DH if my bad memory is misrepresenting you). This thing with her husband. She seems swept away with it all, a leaf blowing the wind and conveying that naturalistically is good work. The 50s for a lady weren't an era of agency and what her character achieves for herself is semi-heroic. I've seen complaints that she gets help from blokes but again that stretched this PC arguing into the modern context which, duh, this film doesn't belong in.

As a more general point I don't believe good or bad characters exist only good or bad writing in the main but also good or bad acting and directing. Bad characters are compelling and sympathetic if they are written that way. Like Jessica Rabbit said I ain't bad I'm just drawn that way.

This film is the cinematic equivalent of Sandy. I've wanted her to see it since I did.  ;D we could have turned to each other as the credits rolled and done a Maury Ballstein to each other "now that's what I'm talking about!"
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 11:56:02 AM by verbALs »
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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 12:52:57 PM »
Ha! :D

okay, okay, I'll watch it soon!
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2016, 08:05:47 PM »
And am I the only one who never felt she was actually in love with her husband ?

Nope. I felt like she was just getting swept along by his emotions and romantic manipulations. She definitely didn't seem excited when he proposed to her. I thought this is what the film was going for, thus making an even harder choice for her when she returned to Ireland and meets Jim, but then she goes back to the US and her husband quite easily and that's that.

The more I think about her, the stranger her character seems to me.

Brooklyn is another example of what I have felt for a long time ; that is to say, that the sexual repression of the past and the impossibility to live together or even get frisky before marriage could not possibly result in the sorts of pairings and relationships that we now deem to be romantically viable. In other words, and I may very well be dismally wrong about this, it would have been akin to impossible for a Eilis-Tony like couple to ever fall truly "in love" in the fullness of the term before they married back then. It is possible, perhaps likely, that their feelings for each other will grow deeper with time, but if you take the beginning of the marriage as a point of comparison, their feelings for each other could be what we would now call something like infatuation or romantic affection. Then again, I'm twelve so I'm probably talking rubbish.

In the sense of real life it's unusual for there to be people actively looking to ruin your life as there are in so many movies.

You have not met my exes.

My only problem with DH earlier review is I can't remember Ronans performance being mentioned and this film is delightful for her work here especially like I say because she is working with nice material at a low level of drama (sorry DH if my bad memory is misrepresenting you).

You're not. I did not mention her performance because, again, I generally care little about such things, and because it did not feel relevant to the point I was making. My write-ups only address specific issues and are not meant to be exhaustive.

This thing with her husband. She seems swept away with it all, a leaf blowing the wind and conveying that naturalistically is good work. The 50s for a lady weren't an era of agency and what her character achieves for herself is semi-heroic. I've seen complaints that she gets help from blokes but again that stretched this PC arguing into the modern context which, duh, this film doesn't belong in.

It is true that she achieves a lot. But it seems like you're saying « Well, she only achieved was it was reasonably possible for a woman to achieve on her own back then, which admittedly was not much. » which I think is an interesting way to take the discussion. A woman could have a romantically "successful" life but only to a certain degree and it would ultimately have to depend on the men. If that is what the film was going for, I find the realism, as disillusioning as it is, refreshingly honest. I also cannot help but be left a tad underwhelmed though.

This film is the cinematic equivalent of Sandy. I've wanted her to see it since I did.  ;D we could have turned to each other as the credits rolled and done a Maury Ballstein to each other "now that's what I'm talking about!"

Tush. Sandy is much better than this movie. Perhaps Singin' in the Rain would be the more apt analogy.
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verbALs

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2016, 12:28:09 AM »
I can make my general point about context here. Something Brooklyn and Carol share is that they manage to be readily understandable from a modern context. The struggle to watch an older film understanding that it's own context might be lost on the modern viewer seems a vital part of enjoying old movies. The older the movie is the more alien it might appear from a modern context. That leap the reviewer has to make seems missing from a lot of reviews and old films are criticised for attitudes that they can't possibly help and have no defence against. My most recent example was the casual racism in "Tender is the Night". You can hope Fitzgerald would be enlightened enough not to say such offensive things but expecting it is unrealistic. So in Brooklyn the divide that an Irish girl and an Italian boy in New York easily cross or Carol's light step across a sexual barrier are actually modern attitudes more than 50s ones. Both films could be hung up in issues that would interest a 50s audience and bore a modern one. So both are successful in bridging that divide. In not telling old stories in old ways.

I'm making the same point about "it's not the movie, it's you" really. When an old film moves at a speed that frustrates a modern viewer it should be obvious that ones own perspective is different from that of the era the film was made in. Some people account for that. Some can't. But it's the same film.
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Junior

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2016, 12:32:58 AM »
We've solved this in literature a long while ago. Yeah, reading (or watching) a work in its own context is important. But you can never divorce yourself from your own context. So it's a matter of figuring out what the work was saying in its day, how it was saying it, and how that hits a modern reader/watcher.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Brooklyn
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2016, 12:50:08 AM »
I wasn't saying the movie should move faster.
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