You didn’t ask for it but here it is. My new “The Magpie Reviews” series is a blatant pander to on-trend millennials and an excuse for me to continue being judgy and consume an alarming amount of media.
Okay so I’m watching “Brooklyn” in my tiny apartment in Romania because I want to feel v American. Not anything post-hegemonic WWII American but like back in the good ol’ days when everyone was an immigrant just hustlin’ and dreaming about a better future for their kids, like when everyone was optimistic despite union issues and racism and sexism and political corruption and dysentery and whatever the hell was going on in Chicago’s meat-packing district. Back when there was no basic hygiene but you had $2 in your pockets and dreams!
The only other movie I can think of that achieves this wild Americana sentiment is “Fievel Goes West”. We are all that plucky Jewish mousling.
Anyways, the movie goes like this.
*Here I guess is where I’d put some SPOILERS DON’T READ AHEAD, but this is a recap post, and you’re an adult, and you should really have the contextual clues to know that yourself*
The story opens on Eilis Lacey (what a freakin’ name) in 1950s County Wexford Ireland. The whole beginning is spent trying to convince us viewers that there was nothing for her in Ireland: there weren’t good jobs, her mother and sister wanted more for her, and her town was just too little and poor. But because our generation’s rose-tinted nostalgia and sentimentality, I didn’t buy it and it looked pretty chill there.
If this was my movie, the movie would just stop there because I’ve always wanted to be an Irish girl in the 1950s (probably just because my name is Maggie and I’m translucently white).
Anyways, Eilis just has to leave and spread her wings. She boards the boat (by the way, I’ll never ever get on any ship that in any way resembles the Titanic) and we’re given this dramatic visual.
So on the ship, Eilis realizes she’s a little less worldly than she knew and has to poop in a bucket. Whatever, we’ve all had to do that. She gets to New York and sets out into the great big unknown. We’re all big girls here and we relate.
Her boarding house is filled with total basic betches and for some reason they all shit on this one particular betch who I actually like. I’d love to see a follow-up sequel that’s only about Dolores trying to trap a man. I’d pay good money, too.
Slowly, slowly Eilis starts to warm up to her new life in Brooklyn after several scenes of her not being able to handle life.
Is this change of heart because she’s really digging her job? Nope. Is her newfound happiness because of her night classes for accounting? Eh, kinda but not really. Is it through friendship and beauty and getting to wear boss-ass outfits like this?
SURPRISE, IT’S A GUY!!!
This guy to be exact.
You forgive her immediately for not having any personal gumption because really, Tony is a cutie. And he’s Italian. I’ve always wanted to be Italian. (Fine, I’ll admit it, I just want to be something other than plain old American).
They have a whirlwind romance and I totally buy it only because of these really amazing cinematography shots.
So they’re in love, she meets his adorable Italian family, blah blah blah. And then what always happens when right you settle into a new context…the old one pulls you back in. Eilis has to go back home to Ireland to deal with a tragedy and instead of being like “okay Beautiful Boyfriend, can we just put this on the back burner while I MOURN?”, he’s like “nah, let’s get married”. She’s like “eh, fine, whatever” and wham, bam, thank you ma’am, they’re husband and wife.
She goes back to Ireland a *changed woman* and in the midst of like, dealing with personal drama, she’s also a BFD because she’s a super cool worldly diva now. She acts like the proper betch she’s become and it attracts the attention of Jim, played by the unpronounceable Domnhall Gleeson. He’s like uber thirsty for her and she plays it all real coy because she’s getting real comfortable back home (and maybe a little bit because Jim is totally rich), and oh yeah, she decides to keep her marriage a secret.
So essentially you’re tricked into believing that she has a choice between gawky hottie Downhall Gleeson and plucky, baseball-loving Tony , WHICH IS A METAPHOR BETWEEN IRELAND AND AMERICA, THE PAST AND THE FUTURE, EVERYTHING SHE’S EVER KNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN. IT’S VERY SUBTLE BUT MAYBE YOU’LL GET IT IF YOU PAY REALLY REALLY CLOSE ATTENTION.
But there’s really no choice because …again….she’s married. Sure she could just pretend nothing ever happened and probably could’ve gotten away with it because there’s no way her American hubby could’ve located Ireland on a map, but let’s remember that this girl was so religious, she went to 6:00 am mass. Ain’t no way she’s turning her back on a sacrament.
Besides if there really was any choice, I think she should go to the cute soda jerk who complimented her accent in like the first five minutes she was in America. SHE DIDN’T EVEN LOOK UP BUT IF SHE DID IT WOULD’VE BEEN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. HIS FREAKING LINE WAS “If I die and go to the pearly gates, I hope the first thing I hear is that lovely Irish brogue asking me for the check.” (or something like that, whatever). He didn’t even get hollaback.
Anyways, DesignatedHitter Gleeson gets a letter that’s like “oops someone else put a ring on it. bye boy” but honestly, this brief relationship really benefitted him because it made him somewhat interesting and now all the ladies will be flocking. Eilis takes the boat back to America, acts like an experienced divorcee to the little ingenue on the ship back home, and LITERALLY WITH NO WARNING, goes back to her husband who is like, too grateful she’s back.
THE FREAKIN’ END
Anyways, for its subtle spaghetti product placement and killer retro swimsuit envy, I give it two thumbs up. But the story is essentially Eilis reacting everything around her, and doing whatever someone else suggests, instead of being proactive, which is a little disappointing. Again this is only because if it were me, I’d wear pants and be all *scandalous*. She seems like a potato until she becomes a self-aware potato by the end. But in all, the costumes were killer, the Irish music was killer, the sentimentality was lit, and I was a sucker throughout it all. I give this film a MAGPIE REVIEWS 8 out of 10.