Sunday 6 March 2016

Brooklyn ~ Book v Film ~ Special Feature

Nominated for six BAFTA Awards

 and three Academy Awards®

Books versus films.  Usually, I don't like to compare a film to the book that it is adapted from, books and films are two very different mediums and it's almost impossible to exactly replicate any written story to film.
I always read the book before I watch the film - never the other way around. I like to imagine characters and settings for myself, and I feel that if I watched the film first, then I'd have a ready-made image in my head. Strangely enough though, it doesn't matter to me that I know how a film is going to end because I've already read the book, but I NEVER want to know how a book will end.
When I was contacted by Saffeya from Premier and she asked me if I'd like to do a feature that looked at Brooklyn, the book versus the film, I decided to take a chance. I'd recently watched the film and I read the book, written by Colm Toibin, back in January 2010. I loved both the book and the film, although I feel very differently about each of them.

The cover image of the originally
released novel (2009)
Brooklyn was adapted for film by author Nick Hornby, from the original book by Colm Toibin, and for me, this is the most apparent thing about the whole film. Toibin and Hornby are both excellent
authors, I enjoy their books very much, but their writing style is very different. Hornby gives a freshness to the movie, it feels brighter and there is more cheer and hope about his adapted story than there is in Toibin's original story.

I remember becoming totally immersed in Eilis' story when reading the book and becoming angry
and frustrated by the injustices that she suffered. The small Irish town, and the narrow views of it's inhabitants are so wonderfully portrayed via Toibin's skilful writing.

The re-released novel with new cover image
The film really is a joy, and deserves every one of the awards that it was nominated for. Brooklyn was up against some really strong films this year, so those nominations count for a lot. The casting of Brooklyn is superb and Saoirse Ronan is absolutely top class in her role as Eilis, she has an old-school glamour and poise, and at times it is difficult to believe just how young she is. There are scenes within the film when words are not needed, when the camera stays on her face, and her expression speaks louder than any words can.

The theme of homesickness and heartbreak that are central to the book are expertly played out by this fine cast of excellent actors, yet the wonderfully timed and extremely realistic flashes of humour, especially from Julie Walters stop the story from becoming depressing.

For me, the film has more colour and is more vibrant than Toibin's original story, which is essential for the big screen. Brooklyn is a wonderfully, brilliantly adapted story, the film perfectly complements the novel.

 Own it from February 29th, 2016

A young woman must make the difficult choices that will define the rest of her life as the BAFTA and Academy Award®-nominated BROOKLYN arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and EST from February 29th, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
Based on the award-winning novel by Colm Tôibín and transformed into a BAFTA and Academy Award® nominated screenplay by Nick Hornby, BROOKLYN stars 2016 BAFTA and Academy Award® nominee Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, Atonement) as Eilis, a young woman who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn, where she has the opportunity for work, for a future - and love, in the form of Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen; The Gambler, The Place Beyond The Pines). When a family tragedy forces her to return to Ireland, she finds herself drawn back into the life she left behind. As a secret threatens to reveal itself, Eilis has to confront a terrible dilemma - a heart-breaking choice between two men and two countries.

2016 BAFTA Best Supporting Actress nominee Julie Walters (Mamma Mia, Harry Potter franchise), Academy Award® Winner Jim Broadbent (TV’s London Spy, The Lady in the Van, Iris), and (Domhnall Gleeson; About Time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) also star in this beautifully told story. Surprisingly funny and yet deeply moving, BROOKLYN is about the meaning of ‘home’ and the intricacies of the human heart and is an emotional tour de force that has already garnered plenty of awards attention including Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nods, five British Independent Film Award nominations and a Best Actress Award for Ronan from the New York Critics’ Circle.
As noted, the film is now also fresh from receiving three Academy Award® nominations for Best Film, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. Add to that those BAFTA nods for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Outstanding British Film, Adapted Screenplay along with nominations for Make-up & Hair and Costume Design and BROOKLYN is firmly cemented as the year’s first essential home entertainment title as awards season gets into full swing.



  1. Interesting to see how the film flowered from the book. I have read repeatedly that the book feels like the Emperor's New Clothes, although I liked the subtlety and themes it explores. The film for once, I feel, edged to the fore, as you say colour and casting were brilliant!!

  2. Interesting as I avoided the film having so loved the book!