BROOKLYN (2015, John Crowley)
A soft handkerchief of a movie, this wispy ode to white immigrants goes for a ton of sentimentality, so even if a few moments pull your strings, the batting average would still not earn you a spot on the Dodgers. The artless direction by Crowley aims straight for the middle, the camera never once in a place that might challenge us or suggest something heretofore unexplored. Ronan is quite good and handles both the demanding beats of her narrative as well as shouldering the burden of the entire movie on her back. Other characters are plot devices, simplified and nostalgic. As far as Ireland-to-New-York stories go, this isn’t IN AMERICA, and it’s not even FAR & AWAY. Threats of being detained, of disease, and even of racism are just mentioned on a boat — it’s still pretty nice to be white if you’re coming here. (The biggest challenges to Irish vs. Italian culture is learning how to eat pasta). Then all you have to worry about is locking down a husband, because all the women who came here from faraway lands found their struggles over and their identity confirmed once they settled on a man to take care of them. What other decisions could there possibly be?