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Eilis is a young immigrant woman with each foot in a different world. All they have in common is: She falls for a man in each place.

Written by Nick Hornby ("About a Boy") and based on Colm Toibin's novel, this lovely film is directed by John Crowley ("Closed Circuit"). We know the actors are excellent because he can indulge in lengthy single-take scenes.

The cast:
  • Saoirse ("Sair' sha") Ronan ("The Grand Budapest Hotel") is Eilis, frustrated by small-minded provincial people in her Irish hometown, agrees to emigrate. Sponsored by a Brooklyn-based priest, she has lodgings and a job when she lands in the United States.
  • Jim Broadbent ("The Iron Lady") is Father Flood, personally familiar with the immigrant experience, he is the perfect sponsor.
  • Julie Walters ("Harry Potter") is Mrs. Kehoe, the wise (and funny!) landlady at the residence for young women where Eilis has a room.
  • Emory Cohen ("Smash") is Tony, the young Italian plumber who loves Irish girls. He also loves the Brooklyn Dodgers! His family is delightful and we get to see their expressive Italian hands in action around the dinner table.
  • Domhnall Gleeson ("About Time") Jim Farrell is the appealing young man in Ireland. There are some things she hasn't mentioned to him.
It's lovely to watch a capable actress like Ronan inhabit a character who evolves from timid and tongue tied, to confident and articulate. We see how homesick she is at first and how she uses that chatty dinner table to learn some much-needed survival skills: e.g., how to eat spaghetti! We respect her ambition as we watch her enroll in night school, but hope those new skills won't be used against her when she has to make an emergency trip back to Ireland.

If I had to quibble, I would say that the 1950s didn't boast such vivid cosmetics or such eye-catching clothes. But who's to say, I only lived them. In addition, Mr. Cohen seems to be emulating Marlon Brando: his mumbled dialogue begs for captions! This nit-picking notwithstanding, this is a highly satisfying chick flick when the only betrayal our heroine experiences is the one of her own heart.
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