Eilis is a young immigrant woman with each foot in two very different worlds. All they have in common is: She falls for a man in both places.
Written by Nick Hornby ("About a Boy") and based on Colm Toibin's novel, this lovely film is directed by John Crowley ("Closed Circuit"). We know the actors are excellent because he can indulge in lengthy single-take scenes.
It's lovely to watch a capable actress like Ronan inhabit a character who evolves from timid and tongue tied, to confident and articulate. We see how homesick she is at first and how she uses that chatty dinner table to learn some much-needed survival skills: e.g., how to eat spaghetti! We respect her ambition as we watch her enroll in night school, but hope those new skills won't be used against her when she has to make an emergency trip back to Ireland.
If I had to quibble, I would say that the 1950s didn't boast such vivid cosmetics or such eye-catching clothes. But who's to say, I only lived them. In addition, Mr. Cohen seems to be emulating Marlon Brando: his mumbled dialogue begs for captions! This nit-picking notwithstanding, this is a highly satisfying chick flick with the only betrayal our heroine experiences is the one in her own heart.