Monday 5 December 2016

Saoirse Ronan inspired by mum's emigration story for Brooklyn

Elaine McCahill

Published 12/10/2015 | 07:33

Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan
Colm Toibin
Saoirse & Monica Ronan

Saoirse Ronan was inspired by her parents emigrating to New York in the 1980s for her role in new movie Brooklyn.

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Three years after Saoirse was born, they decided to move home and the Carlow native said her performance is a love letter to their experience.

"To have my mom speak about her journey and when her and my dad moved over there, what that was like for them, that was tough to listen to but it really helped me, not just for the role but for my life," she said.

"When she saw the film at Sundance, I just went up to her and I literally jumped up off the stage and ran to her arms. And she said, 'You just got it. You got exactly that fear and that excitement I had.'

Colm Toibin
Colm Toibin

"I don't think I realised it in the moment, but what I did with this performance is channel my mom," she added.

The film is based on the book of the same name by Colm Toibin and tells the story of a young woman who moves from small-town Ireland to Brooklyn, New York but returns home following a family tragedy.

Upon her return, she ends up torn between her old and new life and the men in both worlds.

While the film is set in the 1950s, Saoirse feels like it has a feminist undertone.

Saoirse & Monica Ronan
Saoirse & Monica Ronan

"To see a character like her, set at that time and not have it be solely about the men in her life, that's pretty feminist," she told the Awardsdaily.com website.

"Every single woman in this film is strong and independent and yet feminism couldn't flourish back then."

The 21-year-old's performance is already garnering an Oscar buzz and she is set to receive the New Hollywood gong at the Hollywood Film Awards next month.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn won the top audience award at the Vancouver Film Festival over the weekend.

There was also good news for Lenny Abrahmson's upcoming film, Room, which was named best Canadian feature.

The movie is an Irish-Canadian co-production.

Herald

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