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Every time I watch a movie and then learn that it was based on a book, I can’t wait to get my hands on it and relive the story by reading it. Let’s admit, the original is always better, it includes more than its remake, it has a unique author’s tone, and it leaves more space for your own interpretation and imagination.
The sad thing is that usually after reading a book, I got a little bit disappointed in the movie I loved at first.
To tell the truth, before writing this post I watched the movie again, and it did seem a little abrupt. But that is how the movies are done, they are short on timing and cannot feature all the small talks that are there in the novel. In this movie, it didn’t matter that much, and I really loved both, the movie and, of course, the novel. I really appreciate some small additional scenes and dialogues that added some charm and complemented the original writing.
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Movie scenes that complemented the novel
1. Departing to America
Eilis is spotted on the deck of the ship and her mother with her sister Rose are waving at her. Mr. Lacey is leaving in a hurry without waiting for the ship to depart which shows us how reserved and bad at goodbyes she is.
Letters are used to connect Brooklyn and Enniscorthy. Of course, letters were mentioned in the novel but they were not cited. Reading out loud the letters from the loved ones definitely adds drama and romance to the movie.
3. “Have a life here”
Another letter to Rose:
I think of you and mother every single day. I have a boyfriend. He’s sweet, he’s funny. Tony has helped me to feel that I have a life here I didn’t have before I have met him. My body was here but my life was back in Ireland with you. Now it’s half way across the sea. So that’s something, isn’t it?
He is hilarious! The youngest brother of Tony and the only one who is going to get a college education. He is smart, sharp, straightforward and courageous. I loved the scene from the novel when Eilis is over Fiorello’s place for a dinner and Frankie feels it’s his moral obligation to tell her the truth that they hate Irish. This young character adds spontaneity and geniality to the novel, and definitely makes you smile.
And additional scene in the movie showed his character from a new side, he can be serious, helpful and understanding.
So Tony received only one letter back from Eilis while she’s back in Ireland, he’s worried and asks Frankie for help.
Frankie: Listen, I am only 8 years old. I don’t know anything about kissing.
Tony: You don’t need to know anything about kissing. You need to know about spelling and … and …
Frankie doesn’t even grin but thoroughly reads the letter and suggests what should be changed.
5. Home is home
I just loved this line when I heard it in the movie, and carefully read every single dialogue of Eilis and Tony in hope to find it and relive that intimate moment that two main characters shared, but it wasn’t there. As for me, such short and simple line seems to contain such a deep meaning in it.
Tony: You want to go home I guess?
Eilis: How would it be for you if I did go home?
Tony: I’d be afraid. Afraid every single day.
Eilis: Afraid that I would’t come back?
Tony: Yeah. Home is home.
Eilis: I am not sure I have a home anymore.
6. Wearing the ring
When Eilis is visiting Rose’s grave, she takes the ring out of her purse and puts it on her finger where it belongs. I believe it shows the purity, intimacy and honesty in the relationship with her sister as if she wants to be completely honest with her diseased sister.
7. No intimacy with Jim Farrell
When Eilis comes back to Ireland, she spends a lot of time in company of her best friend Nancy, her fiance George and his friend Jim Farrell. Jim is very galant, and well-mannered, he is flirting with her and she finds herself liking it and answering to his wooing in some way. I really liked that in the movie the film director limited their relationship to just flirting and going out once or twice. Obviously some romance is in the air but nothing more. In my opinion, it has added some tenderness and decency to her character. And when he wanted to ask her about future, she has an answer,
I’d imagined a different life for myself.
8. Meeting with Ms. Kelly
When Ms. Kelly, Eilis’s former employer, confronts her about being married, Eilis flushes with anger and disdain saying,
I’ve forgotten what this town is like.
This line and the way she says it contains all the fury with her hometown that hasn’t changed even a little and she did. This is exactly why Rose has arranged everything for her to leave for America and find a better life for herself and not to drawn in rumors and deceit of a small town.
9. Passing the wisdom on
The book ends when Eilis leaves Enniscorthy, and I really appreciate next two scenes that give us some kind of closure.
So Eilis is on the deck of the ship… Sounds familiar? Yes, here we are where it all started, but this time she is that beautiful and confident woman who she met when she was first traveling to America. A young Irish girl is asking questions about Brooklyn, and Eilis can see herself in this girl, so she saves her a trouble and tells what not to do on the boat and how to act at customs. This scene creates some sort of framing for the movie. And there are probably endless number of different stories of young women who are coming from Ireland to find a better life in Brooklyn.
10. Final scene and speech
Eilis is waiting for Tony in front of the store he was working at. She enjoys the sun on her face and everything about her expresses that she is where she’s supposed to be, and her final speech confirms that.
One day you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past, and you’ll realize that this is where your life is.
I am really interested what your favorite scenes from the movie are, leave your comments down below ️