Brooklyn ★★★★

Adapted from Colm Tóibín's novel by Nick Hornby, of all people, this is a disarmingly sweet, touching dramedy in which Irish homebody Ellis (Saoirse Ronan), feeling malaise with her job and life, finds acceptance and love during a working holiday as a boarder in NYC in the early 1950s. Apart from its slightly probing exploration of what it means to form your own life away from your family, this is light as a feather and might be rather cutesy and innocuous if not for the sustained brilliance of Ronan's performance, which is magnetic and takes this from polite literary prestige into the realm of tough, moving human reality. The colorful cinematography by Yves Bélanger forgoes period authenticity in favor of a winning dreaminess; director John Crowley mostly gets out of the way, and the results are engaging and mature.

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