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- He Named Me Malala
Brooklyn 4 stars
Eilis Lacey is a shrinking violet in Enniscorthy. Thanks to her older sister Rose, she secures a one-way ticket to a brighter future in New York. Eilis' homesickness gradually fades and she excels as a salesgirl at a department store under stylish floor manager Miss Fortini. She also sparks a tender romance with a handsome plumber called Tony. The lovebirds marry in secret, but when Eilis returns home to Enniscorthy, local boy Jim Farrell unexpectedly turns her head.
- GenreAdaptation, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
- CastSaoirse Ronan, Julie Walters, Michael Zegen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Emory Cohen.
- DirectorJohn Crowley.
- WriterNick Hornby.
- Duration112 mins
- Official sitewww.foxsearchlight.com/brooklyn/
Young hearts run free on opposite sides of the Atlantic in John Crowley's handsome romance, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Colm Toibin's novel of the same name. Set in the early 1950s, Brooklyn harks back to a bygone era of restrictive social mores and is anchored by a tour-de-force performance from Saoirse Ronan as an innocent abroad, whose journey from County Wexford to the towering skyscrapers of New York coincides with her awkward transition to womanhood. The 21-year-old Irish-American actress doesn't hit a false emotional note, contrasting the naivete of her heroine's early days away from home with the self-assurance of an immigrant, who finally realises that she belongs. Sweeping production and costume design evoke the era with aplomb, accentuated by Michael Brook's gorgeous orchestral score. Equally appealing are Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson as rival suitors for the heroine's affections. Both actors kindle smouldering on-screen chemistry with Ronan, so we're undecided, like her, which of them she should choose as her sanctuary. Eilis Lacey (Ronan) is a shrinking violet in Enniscorthy. She lives with her mother (Jane Brennan) and older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), and earns a meagre crust - and withering rebukes - at the local shop run by the imperious Miss Kelly (Brid Brennan). Thanks to Rose, Eilis secures a one-way ticket to a brighter future in New York. Holy man Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) places Eilis at a boarding house for single girls run by Mrs Kehoe (Julie Walters), who clucks over the lodgers including Patty (Emily Bett Rickards), Diana (Eve Macklin), Miss McAdam (Mary O'Driscoll) and Sheila (Nora-Jane Noone). Eilis' homesickness gradually fades and she excels as a salesgirl at a department store under stylish floor manager Miss Fortini (Jessica Pare). She also sparks a tender romance with a handsome plumber called Tony (Cohen). Painfully innocent to courtship rituals, Eilis turns to the other girls at the boarding house and they advise her to carefully choose her bathing costume for an impending trip to Coney Island beach. "It's the most Tony will have seen of you and you don't want to put him off!" they cackle. The lovebirds marry in secret, but when Eilis returns home to Enniscorthy, local boy Jim Farrell (Gleeson) unexpectedly turns her head and makes her hanker for small-town life. Brooklyn is a classic, old-fashioned love triangle, which combines elegant storytelling, strong performances and swoonsome visuals. Gentle comedy, courtesy of Walters in fine lip-pursing form, underpins the anguished vacillations of the heart and stokes dramatic tension as Eilis dithers between her two paramours. Toibin's lyrical dialogue trips off the tongue in Hornby's script, succinctly capturing the ebb and flow of life for young dreamers, who come to realise that home isn't necessarily where you were born.
He Named Me Malala 4 stars
An inspirational documentary about 18-year-old Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who famously survived an assassination attempt by Taliban gun men. The film is also a deeply touching story of a proud father and daughter, who have drawn strength from each other in times of unimaginable pain and adversity.
- GenreBiography, Documentary
- CastZiauddin Yousafzai, Malala Yousafzai.
- DirectorDavis Guggenheim.
- WriterDavis Guggenheim.
- Duration87 mins
- Official sitewww.henamedmemalalamovie.com
Davis Guggenheim's inspirational documentary is not just a glowing tribute to 18-year-old Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who famously survived an assassination attempt by Taliban gun men. He Named Me Malala is also a deeply touching story of a proud father and daughter, who have drawn strength from each other in times of unimaginable pain and adversity. Many images in Guggenheim's film stir the soul, not least Jason Carpenter's gorgeous animated sequences which bookmark this affectionate biography. However, what lingers longest are fly-on-the-wall footage of Malala and her father Ziauddin, walking hand-in-hand through a media scrum or nestled together, exhausted, in adjacent seats on an airplane. "We became dependent on each other, like one soul in two bodies," explains the patriarch, who established a chain of schools and raised his daughter in an environment of wonder and learning. This bond of unerring faith between two people, who have defied the Taliban and could pay with their lives if they return home to Pakistan, provides the film with its emotional core. Guggenheim's cameras are granted unprecedented access to the family and there are lovely sequences of Malala bickering with her brothers Khushal and Atal at their home in Birmingham, explaining to the youngest boy that she occasionally slaps him out of sisterly affection. The siblings are cheeky scamps and tease Malala about her crushes on famous cricket players and Wimbledon champion Roger Federer. She giggles when the director probes a little deeper about boys she likes and nervously dodges the question. In these everyday domestic scenes, in which Malala's mother Toor Pekai makes fleeting appearances, we're reminded that she is still a teenager, prone to the usual growing pains and the pressure to pass her examinations. Away from the West Midlands, the film joins Malala and Ziauddin as they fly around the world, spreading her message of education and equality. The attack, which brought her to worldwide attention, casts a shadow over each rousing speech and awards ceremony, and Guggenheim waits until the film's second half to deliver the emotional sucker punch of Malala reminiscing about the shooting with classmates Kainat and Shazia. A single photograph of their blood-spattered school bus brings home the carnage with horrifying clarity. Her recuperation and rehabilitation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham once again emphasises the bond between child and parent. "When she woke up, her first question was: where's my father?" recalls a British nurse of the moment that Malala regained consciousness after hours in a critical condition. "It's so hard to get things done in this world. But you have to try and never give up," muses the teenager at one point. He Named Me Malala is a cri de coeur for us all to follow suit.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Thursday 3rd December 2015