Brooklyn – A Must-See For Immigrants

“Brooklyn” is a movie that will tear asunder several wounds in the soul of every immigrant. It may even tear asunder the soul itself. Every immigrant should watch it. Everyone who doesn’t understand our decision of leaving the country should watch it, as well.

The main character of the film is an Irish woman emigrating to New York and starting to build a life there. After a while she is forced to return to Ireland for a while: everything there starts slowly to fall into place for her, as well. Which life will she choose…?

Based on a novel by Colm Toibin, the movie is very subtle in showing the inner rupture experienced by all immigrants leaving their families and their homeland behind. It shows how difficult are the beginnings and how difficult it is not to be the part of the lives of our loved ones anymore.

For me, the film is a testimony to the fact that you can build a happy life basically everywhere – everything depends on what your needs are, on “what life have you imagined for yourself”, as the main character says at one point. I am often annoyed by people saying we immigrants chose “something better” (New York being the ultimate “better” place). Yes, we chose something better, but better for us. For you, the “better” place can be located anywhere else on the globe, including your hometown.

It doesn’t really matter if you choose New York, London, Luxembourg or Stockholm – our everyday lives abound in the same problems yours do; including some new ones stemming from assimilation, interaction with different cultures and being treated as aliens. I already described the first year of immigration here at Just Like NY; the second one is similar, and every following one is only a tiny bit better.

Why aren’t we coming back? Is as if I asked you, why are you not leaving? You would probably say: because this is my home. You know what? We would say the exact same thing.

Ant this is what the movie is about: you should live wherever your heart beats strongest. Which is not to say that this very heart will not at times bleed with longing for where you came from.