Irish films Brooklyn and Glassland have been garnering rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, particularly the former with its star turn by 20-year-old star Saoirse Ronan.
ohn Crowley's big screen adaptation of Colm Tóibín's acclaimed novel sees Ronan play a girl in 1950s Ireland who is torn between her life back home and a bright new life in the Big Apple.
Buzz has increased since news landed from Deadline.com that Fox Searchlight in the US is finalising a $9m deal for the rights.
Reviews have been outstanding across the board with The Hollywood Reporter describing it as a "stellar adaptation' and says it's a 'superbly acted romantic drama" which is "classily and classically crafted in the best sense by director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby."
Whilst Julie Walters, Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen also star, Saoirse is singled out for praise, "From the leads to the smallest roles, the casting and acting are perfection. Veteran adolescent phenom Ronan works wonders with this exceptional transitional role, registering the maturing process from fresh-off-the-boat naivete to first-love blossoming and, ultimately, to calculating grown woman forced to decide what’s in her best interests."
Similarly, Vanity Fair's review is gushing. Richard Lawson writes, "Brooklyn captures that bittersweet mix of excitement and longing really well, Crowley directing with patience and understatement. He’s helped immensely by his lead, Saoirse Ronan, who does wonderful work here—her Eilis isn’t always likable, she’s sometimes prickly and aloof, but she’s fully human, intelligent and determined and decent."
He continues to lavish praise on Saoirse, "Ronan has played leads before, but simple as Brooklyn is, so much of the movie’s power needs to come from her. In that sense it's one of her weightiest roles to date. And yet she proves herself more than capable throughout, doing a humble kind of star turn that augurs a long career full of interesting, well-chosen work. It’s a real pleasure to watch her, natural and intuitive as she is."
Writing on RogerEbert.com, Brian Tallerico says Brooklyn is "magical".
He writes, "Part of the reason it works is Ronan’s remarkable commitment in every scene (and her great chemistry with [Emory] Cohen). This may be her best work to date (although I love her in “Atonement” and “Hanna” too). The arc of Eilis is one from youth to adulthood, and Ronan conveys it in remarkably subtle ways."
Glassland, meanwhile, is also garnering high praise. The film, directed by Gerard Barrett, stars Transformers' Jack Reynor as a young taxi driver who, in an effort to save his mother (Toni Collette) from addiction, is forced to take a job which drives him further into the crime underworld.
The Hollywood Reporter describes Toni Collette’s performance as “blistering” and comments on Jack Reynor’s “exceptional work” in this “quietly impressive drama.”
Indiewire, meanwhile, praised “its heart-wrenching sensibility, and its compelling cast, Barrett’s Glassland is as much a directorial triumph as it is a fantastic challenge for its actors.”
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The site also singled out Reynor’s “career-making performance that while subdued, stands out because of its naturalistic humanity.”