It's 1952, and Eilis, freshly arrived from the small town of Enniskorthy on the Irish Sea, has arrived in Brooklyn and begun work as a salesgirl (pre-arranged by an Irish priest) at Bertolucci's Department Store in New York. The story is based on the wonderful novel of the same name by the Irish writer Colm Toibin.
Inevitably, films are different from the books that inspire them, so one never knows quite what to expect. The story, simplified for the screen, kept close to the original story of Eilis's reluctant emigration, engineered by others in what they believe are her best interests. Of course, life brings up the unexpected, and emigration has inevitable effects.
The hard choices that this young woman must make inspired moments of laughter. Though Eilis remains brave, I was not the only one in the audience to shed tears for her, especially over the poignant but inescapable consequences of leaving her homeland to finally belong, as she says, neither in America nor Ireland, but "somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean."
There is still a chance to see this film at the VIFF, and I've a hunch it will making the rounds of certain select theatres after the festival.