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Fox Searchlight Continues Sundance Acquisitions Spree with Period Tearjerker ‘Brooklyn’

Fox Searchlight Continues Sundance Acquisitions Spree with Period Tearjerker 'Brooklyn'

Fox Searchlight came to Sundance with Jonah Hill / James Franco thriller “True Story” in hand, picked up director Noah Baumbach’s latest collaboration with Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America,” before the festival began, and partnered with producer Indian Paintbrush to snag “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” earlier this week.

The distributor’s acquisitions spree continues with the period melodrama “Brooklyn” — to the tune of $9 million, according to Variety, the price tag fueled by a bidding war that included The Weinstein Company, Focus Features, and Roadside.

Based on Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel, adapted by the ever-popular Nick Hornby and directed by John Crowley, the film stars Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement”) as a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to the titular New York borough in 1952. As Entertainment Weekly notes, it’s a homecoming of sorts for the 20-year-old Irish actress, who also appears in this year’s Sundance title “Stockholm, Pennsylvania.”

“Brooklyn” co-stars Emory Cohen (“Four,” “The Gambler”) and Domhnall Gleeson (“Calvary,” “Unbroken”) as Ronan’s love interests, Julie Walters as the proprietor of a boardinghouse for girls, and Jim Broadbent as a kindly priest. The film has already received favorable comparisons to another Hornby adaptation, “An Education,” which broke out of Sundance in 2009 to land three Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress Carey Mulligan). We round up the early reviews below:

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:
“Classily and classically crafted in the best sense by director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby,
this superbly acted romantic drama is set in the early 1950s and
provides the feeling of being lifted into a different world altogether,
so transporting is the film’s sense of time and place and social mores.”

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair:
“This is a polite kind of movie, where there’s very little swearing and
sex happens with everyone’s clothes mostly on, but it’s not naive, nor
does it lacquer itself in a protective layer of schmaltz. It’s
respectably human scale, efficient and amiable in that uniquely Irish
way.”

Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian:
“[The film] may best be summed up as ‘”The Immigrant,” but nice’… ‘Brooklyn’ is a sweet movie, and its time-capsule quality is its real sell.”

Gregory Ellwood, HitFix:
“The film has a gorgeous, almost classic
postcard look thanks to Crowley’s collaborations with cinematographer
Yves Bélanger (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Wild”) and production designer
François Séguin. And if we’re heaping praise on below-the-line talent,
costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux (“An Education”) deserves a ton of
credit for chronicling Eilis’ arc through increasingly bright and modern
dresses as she begins to win over New York and come into her own.”

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