Brooklyn—A Lover's Critique

First off, if you haven’t seen the movie Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan, you should stop reading this and go watch it now because it is 100% worth it! Also, this critique contains spoilers and I don’t want to be that person who ruins it for you. 

The story is set in the 1950s’ (the cutest era of clothing ever) and features in on a young Ellis Lacey, born in Ireland and moving to Brooklyn, New York for work. On her journey, she meets Tony, and to no surprise, they fall in love and get married. But rather than see this at the end of the movie, it happens in the middle because Ellis needs to go back to Ireland for her sister’s funeral, and they each wanted to make sure she had a reason to come back. 

So she leaves for Ireland, not telling anyone she’s married for the simple fact nobody was there to attend any ceremony. It seems like a no brainer for her to come back, she leads a much better life in New York. But while she’s in Ireland she gets the news that her friend is getting married only a few days more than when she was supposed to leave.  So her mother convinces her to stay and in the meantime, she works at her deceased sister’s job and goes around town with her engaged best friend, her fiance, and a boy named Jim, who hopes to win Ellis’ heart. So between her temporary boss, her infatuation interest, and peers, the temptation to stay seems prominent, this serves as the conflict of the story. 

The entire time I’m watching this conflict, I was getting flustered! Because here’s her husband Tony who is supportive of her leaving for Ireland temporarily, letting her know how eager he will be to see her, throughout the movie he shows this same type of support by escorting her home after her night classes and respecting her boundaries of wanting to take things slow. Pretty much an absolute dreamboat. Meanwhile, Jim is like our first love, where we are blindsided with all the not okay’s going on because we think that’s what love is. Come to find out that wasn’t the case at all and that you're better off without him. He shows a possession over Ellis, for example, the two are slow dancing a day or so before she is supposed to board back to New York. He whispers in her ear and say’s, “I don’t want you to go,” shoving anything she wants out the window for his benefit. To further this critique, throughout the film he would constantly complain about how he would be living in his parent’s house alone due to them moving, to try and win her affection rather than just trying to get to know her. The closest scene they had to any type of closure was of him giving a great monologue of how deep his personality went, despite who he hung out with. 

The day Ellis is supposed to go back, a person comes to tell her that her old boss wants to see her at the bakery, the place she worked before she moved. At the bakery, the old lady who nobody seems to like confronts her for being secretly married. It was in this moment of manipulation from the old lady that Ellis realized how small-minded this town still was and how she needed to get out more than ever to live her new identity as Ellis Fiorello. She tells her mom the news, writes Jim a letter and goes back to Brooklyn. In the scene to follow, Jim is heartbroken and Ellis returns to New York waiting outside a restaurant Tony was working at until he comes out. When he comes out and sees her, he hands his plumbing tools to his friend and embraces her in a hug; accepting that she’s home and that nothing else matters. What makes this moment even more special is that she only wrote to him 1 letter where he wrote to her 5, but in that final scene it seemed as though those worries were behind him because she came back, and this time, was here to stay. 

brooklyn bridge new york city

This movie did a beautiful job of captivating the struggles of love and infatuation and can serve as a great reminder of which partner to go for. In this case, Tony who is supportive, charming and understanding of loving such a quietly passionate woman. Instead of the egotistical, manipulative Jim, who by all means comes off at sweet first glance, but ultimately is not the proper fit for a wild spirit. So I encourage you, reader, to never settle on yourself. Because if an immigrant from the 1950s' can do it, so can any person in the year 2020. Stay elegant.