22 Jan

New York
This is unlike me, but I want to talk about Brooklyn, the movie, without having read the book. I almost always like the book better than the movie, with the exception of maybe The Notebook. But it’s Oscar season and I’m in a movie sort of mood.

Let me set the stage for the sort of mindset I was in when I saw Brooklyn. It was zero degrees on a Milwaukee Sunday (that was the high temperature). I didn’t have any plans and was alone for the day (my husband, Sam, is finishing med school and has been working nonstop this month). So, in a way, I was liberated! I could do anything!

My initial plan was to bunker down under mounds of blankets and not leave the Brooklyn the movieapartment, but cabin fever set in and I decided to venture downtown to see Brooklyn, a love story that Sam had expressed no interest in seeing. I walk into the quaint old Milwaukee theater, Downer Theater, for the matinee, bought myself a popcorn (which I rarely do), and found a seat in the surprisingly crowded theater at 1pm.

What I love about the film is the relatability of the characters: their desires, their dreams, their love, and the simplicity of the story itself. This is the story of a girl who falls in love in a new place and has to make some tough decisions about home and duty and desire.

When I say simple, I mean it in the most beautiful, most universal sort of way. The movie digs deep into human desires we all have. Universal desires to be near and help people we love, to establish a sense of home and belonging, to love and be loved. Through Eilis’ story, the movie draws out these desires in every audience member, because, in the end, that’s what we all want, isn’t it? Home, belonging, love.

Sometimes I think that because my life is so relatively easy, at least compared to Eilis’s and the decisions she’s forced to make, I make problems where there are none. Instead of being happy with the way things are, I get caught up in the narcissistic struggle to do something “great.” It’s not enough (or it hasn’t been) to work and live and love modestly. I feel like I need all of that and more. I want to be recognized and to be able to do something that means something (whatever that is). I’m not saying wanting those things is inherently wrong. Brooklyn just emphasized that I could be present with what I have today instead of wallowing in dissatisfaction and always wanting more.

One of the movie reviews I read said something like, “If you don’t leave the theater with a smile on your face, you did something wrong. Go back and watch it again.” Walking out of the theater alone into the sunny sub-zero Milwaukee day, I was smiling. Not because the movie was all laughs and happiness, but because I had been given permission, at least for today, to be content. At least today, I thought, my life, the career I’m building, the city I live in, and people around me, are enough.


One Response to “Brooklyn”

  1. carolinecrehan January 25, 2016 at 10:36 am #


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