The pleasures of “Brooklyn” are many, and as well-wrought as the films directed by John Crowley are—he helped to break out Irish star Colin Farrell in “Intermission” and Andrew Garfield in “Boy A”—the succulent juices of this story come from novelist Colm Tóibín and author-turned-Hollywood screenwriting pro Nick Hornby, who wrote the books-that-were-turned-into-movies “About a Boy” and “High Fidelity,” and the movie adaptations of Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” and Lynn Barber’s “An Education,” which earned him an Oscar nomination.
Another one is in the offing for “Brooklyn” (Fox Searchlight), which was a long-slog labor of love for Hornby, surviving various aborted incarnations. By the time the movie was ready to roll, Irish actress Saoirse Ronan had grown up, and as Hornby says, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing her. She’s a young woman with limited hopes in her rural Irish town who emigrates to New York where she is miserably homesick until she meets a young Italian plumber (Emory Cohen) at a Brooklyn dance. Family tragedy strikes and she returns home and suddenly finds a delightful young swain (Domnhall Gleeson) and imagines a parallel life back in Ireland. She has to make a choice, as does the audience.
Meanwhile Hornby is writing more screenplays than books. “It’s writing to me,” he says, “and getting to work with really interesting people after a quarter of the century on my own has been wonderful.” Writing “Wild” was a like a speeding train. But “Brooklyn” took a lot longer to find the perfect cinematic version of the book.
Check out the flipcam interview above to see why the film’s unusual two-part structure and love triangle works, and how Hornby shifted the movie’s denouement.